008: Volume 1, Issue 1 (Inaugural Issue), pp. 137-149

Global Journalism Ethics: Widening the Conceptual Base

Stephen J. A. Ward



For most of its history, journalism ethics has been highly practical in aim, in theorizing, and in application. Inquiry analyzed what was occurring inside newsrooms and its scope was parochial. Starting from the premise that a parochial approach no longer serves journalism, the study of journalism, or the public of journalism, in this paper it is argued that a major task of journalism ethics is to construct a more non-parochial ethics—a global journalism ethics informed by critical work from various disciplines and cultures. The discussion presented charts the trajectory of journalism ethics over several centuries to explain the role of parochialism and the limits of theorizing in journalism ethics. This historical perspective also serves as a foundation for outlining what a future journalism ethics might look like, if we widen the conceptual base by incorporating new knowledge of media from outside journalism ethics, and by redefining journalism ethics as a global enterprise.



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