"Fake news," "alternative facts," and daily attacks on the media from the Trump White House are redefining the media's role for a new generation. Mainstream media has traditionally allowed journalists two roles. In order to remain ethical, they must either be neutral observers reporting the facts or signal that they are biased interpreters espousing a partisan agenda.
In this provocative new work, leading global media ethicist Stephen Ward suggests that journalism needs to embrace a third path and begin practicing a new kind of journalism: democratically engaged journalism. It is only by breaking free of dualistic ethical practices that the world's media will be able to address `Trumpism'-a heady mix of populism, authoritarian leadership, narrow patriotism, and moral tribalism (Us versus Them). Weaving in rich examples from daily journalism, this timely book will address practical questions such as how to cover a constant torrent of presidential "tweets," how fact-checking plays a part in democratically engaged media, and how journalists should respond to the pressure to be patriotic in their coverage of global issues such as immigration and the impact of Trump's "America First" foreign policy.
At issue is the need to construct a new journalism ethics for today's social context. We need a new approach to journalism ethics not only to report on the Trump presidency but also for reporting in a digital, global world.
Stephen J. A. Ward is an internationally recognized media ethicist, journalist, educator, consultant, keynote speaker and award-winning author. He resides in Fredericton, N.B., Canada.
He is Distinguished Lecturer in Ethics at the University of British Columbia. Ward was the first Burgess Chair of Journalism Ethics and founding Director of the Center for Journalism Ethics, School of Journalism and Communication, University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is former director of the Graduate School of Journalism, University of British Columbia and the George S. Turnbull Center at the University of Oregon's School of Journalism and Communication in Portland.
In journalism, Ward was a war correspondent, foreign reporter and newsroom manager for 14 years and has received a lifetime award for service to professional journalism in Canada.
He is the author of the award-winning The Invention of Journalism Ethics. His latest book, Radical Media Ethics (Wiley 2015), won the Tankard Award as the best academic book in journalism and mass communication, from the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication in the United States.