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The Virtuous Journalist

Stephen Klaidman and Tom L. Beauchamp

Publication Date - July 1988

ISBN: 9780195056884

256 pages
6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

Retail Price to Students: $104.99


This book combines the insights of a seasoned journalist with those of a philosopher to provide a penetrating and comprehensive guide to the ethics of news reporting. Drawing on a wealth of real-life cases, The Virtuous Journalist melds for the first time a conceptual analysis of the critical moral problems in journalism with a solid understanding of the constraints and possibilities faced by the print and electronic media. The authors are not First Amendment absolutists but believe nonetheless that, in a democracy, the media should be subjected to minimal legal restraint. They also argue that freedom from legal restraint requires increased moral responsibility.
Among the specific topics treated in the book are notions of morality and fairness, journalistic competence, standards of objectivity and accuracy, avoiding bias, avoiding harm, notions of public service, and maintaining public trust. Specific cases discussed include the controversy surrounding the CBS documentary "The Uncounted Enemy" and recent reporting on the AIDS epidemic. This is essential reading for anyone interested in the role the press plays in influencing social, economic, and political choices in modern life.

About the Author(s)

Stephen Klaidman is a Senior Research Fellow at the Kennedy Institute of Ethics, Georgetown University, and has been a journalist for the International Herald Tribune, The Washington Post, and The New York Times. Tom L. Beauchamp is Professor of Philosophy and Senior Research Scholar at the Kennedy Institute and author or co-author of such books as Principles of Biomedical Ethics, Philosophical Ethics, and Hume and the Problem of Causation.

Table of Contents

    1. The Idea of Journalism Ethics
    2. Reaching for Truth
    3. Reporting Unbiased Facts
    4. Avoiding Harms
    5. Providing Benefits
    6. Fostering Trust and Credibility
    7. Respecting Privacy and Maintaining Confidentiality
    8. Manipulating by Influence
    9. Remaining Accountable