Perceptions and Manifestations of Autonomy, Transparency and Harm among U.S. Newspaper Journalists

Patrick Plaisance, Joan A. Deppa

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

17 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The media ethics literature is filled both with calls to more clearly define the values that govern media practitioners and with claims about which values ought to drive good journalism. Yet virtually nowhere in the field has social psychology research into the nature of values been brought to bear on this discussion. Based on an analysis of a series of in-depth interviews with 15 newspaper journalists in California, New Jersey and North Carolina, this examination of how journalists perceive, articulate and seek to embody their personal values in their work suggests that, far from working in a moral vacuum, journalists bring to bear a number of morality-based and competency-based values on their everyday ethical decision-making. Drawing from the body of value-theory research in social psychology, the analysis suggests that 1) journalists may have an inadequate conceptualization of journalistic autonomy; 2) the field suffers from an excessively wide range in the degree to which journalists embrace the goal of transparent deliberation; and 3) the journalistic admonition to “minimize harm” requires clarification within the profession.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)327-386
Number of pages60
JournalJournalism and Communication Monographs
Volume10
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2009

Fingerprint

journalist
Transparency
transparency
newspaper
autonomy
Values
social psychology
Decision making
Vacuum
media ethics
value theory
journalism
deliberation
morality
profession
decision making
examination
interview

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Communication

Cite this

@article{155247148a0d42d2a91d7753d0e331b3,
title = "Perceptions and Manifestations of Autonomy, Transparency and Harm among U.S. Newspaper Journalists",
abstract = "The media ethics literature is filled both with calls to more clearly define the values that govern media practitioners and with claims about which values ought to drive good journalism. Yet virtually nowhere in the field has social psychology research into the nature of values been brought to bear on this discussion. Based on an analysis of a series of in-depth interviews with 15 newspaper journalists in California, New Jersey and North Carolina, this examination of how journalists perceive, articulate and seek to embody their personal values in their work suggests that, far from working in a moral vacuum, journalists bring to bear a number of morality-based and competency-based values on their everyday ethical decision-making. Drawing from the body of value-theory research in social psychology, the analysis suggests that 1) journalists may have an inadequate conceptualization of journalistic autonomy; 2) the field suffers from an excessively wide range in the degree to which journalists embrace the goal of transparent deliberation; and 3) the journalistic admonition to “minimize harm” requires clarification within the profession.",
author = "Patrick Plaisance and Deppa, {Joan A.}",
year = "2009",
month = "12",
day = "1",
doi = "10.1177/152263790901000402",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "10",
pages = "327--386",
journal = "Journalism & communication monographs",
issn = "1522-6379",
publisher = "Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication",
number = "4",

}

Perceptions and Manifestations of Autonomy, Transparency and Harm among U.S. Newspaper Journalists. / Plaisance, Patrick; Deppa, Joan A.

In: Journalism and Communication Monographs, Vol. 10, No. 4, 01.12.2009, p. 327-386.

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

TY - JOUR

T1 - Perceptions and Manifestations of Autonomy, Transparency and Harm among U.S. Newspaper Journalists

AU - Plaisance, Patrick

AU - Deppa, Joan A.

PY - 2009/12/1

Y1 - 2009/12/1

N2 - The media ethics literature is filled both with calls to more clearly define the values that govern media practitioners and with claims about which values ought to drive good journalism. Yet virtually nowhere in the field has social psychology research into the nature of values been brought to bear on this discussion. Based on an analysis of a series of in-depth interviews with 15 newspaper journalists in California, New Jersey and North Carolina, this examination of how journalists perceive, articulate and seek to embody their personal values in their work suggests that, far from working in a moral vacuum, journalists bring to bear a number of morality-based and competency-based values on their everyday ethical decision-making. Drawing from the body of value-theory research in social psychology, the analysis suggests that 1) journalists may have an inadequate conceptualization of journalistic autonomy; 2) the field suffers from an excessively wide range in the degree to which journalists embrace the goal of transparent deliberation; and 3) the journalistic admonition to “minimize harm” requires clarification within the profession.

AB - The media ethics literature is filled both with calls to more clearly define the values that govern media practitioners and with claims about which values ought to drive good journalism. Yet virtually nowhere in the field has social psychology research into the nature of values been brought to bear on this discussion. Based on an analysis of a series of in-depth interviews with 15 newspaper journalists in California, New Jersey and North Carolina, this examination of how journalists perceive, articulate and seek to embody their personal values in their work suggests that, far from working in a moral vacuum, journalists bring to bear a number of morality-based and competency-based values on their everyday ethical decision-making. Drawing from the body of value-theory research in social psychology, the analysis suggests that 1) journalists may have an inadequate conceptualization of journalistic autonomy; 2) the field suffers from an excessively wide range in the degree to which journalists embrace the goal of transparent deliberation; and 3) the journalistic admonition to “minimize harm” requires clarification within the profession.

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84857353158&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=84857353158&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1177/152263790901000402

DO - 10.1177/152263790901000402

M3 - Review article

AN - SCOPUS:84857353158

VL - 10

SP - 327

EP - 386

JO - Journalism & communication monographs

JF - Journalism & communication monographs

SN - 1522-6379

IS - 4

ER -