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Ethical Communication

Moral Stances in Human Dialogue

Clifford G. Christians and John C. Merrill

Proponents of professional ethics recognize the importance of theory but also know that the field of ethics is best understood through real-world applications. This book introduces students and practitioners to important ethical concepts through the lives of major thinkers ranging from Aristotle to Ayn Rand, John Stuart Mill to the Dalai Lama.
            Some two dozen contributors approach media ethics from five perspectives—altruistic, egoistic, autonomous, legalist, and communitarian—and use real people as examples to convey ethical concepts as something more than mere abstractions. Readers see how Confucius represents group loyalty; Gandhi, nonviolent action; Mother Teresa, the spirit of sacrifice. Each profile provides biographical material, the individual’s basic ethical position and contribution, and insight into how his or her moral teachings can help the modern communicator. The roster of thinkers is gender inclusive, ethnically diverse, and spans a broad range of time and geography to challenge the misperception that moral theory is dominated by Western males.
            These profiles challenge us not to give up on moral thinking in our day but to take seriously the abundance of good ideas in ethics that the human race provides. They speak to real-life struggles by applying to such trials the lasting quality of foundational thought. Many of the root values to which they appeal are cross-cultural, even universal.
            Exemplifying these five ethical perspectives through more than two dozen mentors provides today’s communicators with a solid grounding of key ideas for improving discussion and attaining social progress in their lives and work. These profiles convey the diversity of means to personal and social betterment through worthwhile ideas that truly make ethics come alive.


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Finley Peter Dunne and Mr. Dooley

The Chicago Years

Charles Fanning

Finley Peter Dunne, American journalist and humorist, is justly famous for his creation of Mr. Dooley, the Chicago Irish barkeep whose weekly commentary on national politics, war, and human nature kept Americans chuckling over their newspapers for nearly two decades at the beginning of this century. Largely forgotten in the files of Chicago newspapers, however, are over 300 Mr. Dooley columns written in the 1890s before national syndication made his name a household word. Charles Fanning offers here the first critical examination of these early Dooley pieces, which, far better than the later ones, reveal the depth and development of the character and his creator.

Dunne created in Mr. Dooley a vehicle for expressing his criticism of Chicago's corruption despite the conservatism of most of his publishers. Dishonest officials who could not be safely attacked in plain English could be roasted with impunity in the "pure Roscommon brogue" of a fictional comic Irishman. In addition, Dunne painted, through the observations of his comic persona, a vivid and often poignant portrait of the daily life of Chicago's working-class Irish community and the impact of assimilation into American life. He also offered cogent views of American urban political life, already dominated by the Irish as firmly in Chicago as in other large American cities, and of the tragicomic phenomenon of Irish nationalism.

Mr. Fanning's penetrating examination of these early Dooley pieces clearly establishes Dunne as far more than a mere humorist. Behind Mr. Dooley's marvelously comic pose and ironic tone lies a wealth of material germane to the social and literary history of turn-of-the century America.

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The Fourth Enemy

Journalism and Power in the Making of Peronist Argentina, 1930–1955

James Cane

The rise of Juan Perón to power in Argentina in the 1940s is one of the most studied subjects in Argentine history. But no book before this has examined the role the Peronists’ struggle with the major commercial newspaper media played in the movement’s evolution, or what the resulting transformation of this industry meant for the normative and practical redefinition of the relationships among state, press, and public. In The Fourth Enemy, James Cane traces the violent confrontations, backroom deals, and legal actions that allowed Juan Domingo Perón to convert Latin America’s most vibrant commercial newspaper industry into the region’s largest state-dominated media empire. An interdisciplinary study drawing from labor history, communication studies, and the history of ideas, this book shows how decades-old conflicts within the newspaper industry helped shape not just the social crises from which Peronism emerged, but the very nature of the Peronist experiment as well.

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From Pigeons to News Portals

Foreign Reporting and the Challenge of New Technology

David Perlmutter

Ever since the invention of the telegraph, journalists have sought to remove the barriers of time and space. Today, we readily accept that reporters can jet quickly to a distant location and broadcast instantly from a satellite-connected, video-enabled cell phone hanging from their belts. But now that live news coverage is possible from virtually anywhere, is foreign correspondence better? And what are the implications of recent changes in journalistic technology for policy makers and their constituents? In From Pigeons to News Portals, edited by David D. Perlmutter and John Maxwell Hamilton, scholars and journalists survey, probe, and demystify the new foreign correspondence that has emerged from rapidly changing media technology. These distinguished authors challenge long-held beliefs about foreign news coverage, not the least of which is whether, in our interconnected world, such a thing as "foreign news" even exists anymore. Essays explore the ways people have used new media technology--from satellites and cell phones to the Internet--to affect content, delivery modes, and amount and style of coverage. They examine the ways in which speedy reporting conflicts with in-depth reporting, the pros and cons of "parachute" journalism, the declining dominance of mainstream media as a source of foreign news, and the implications of this new foreign correspondence for foreign policy. Entertainment media such as film, television, and video gaming form worldwide opinions about America, often in negative ways. Meanwhile, live reporting abroad is both a blessing and curse for foreign policy makers. Because foreign news is so vital to effective policy making and citizenship, we imperil our future by failing to understand the changes technology brings and how we can wrest the best practice out of those changes. This provocative volume offers valuable insights and analyses to help us better understand the evolving state of foreign news.

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From the Dance Hall to Facebook

Teen Girls, Mass Media, and Moral Panic in the United States, 1905-2010

Shayla Thiel-Stern

From the days of the penny press to the contemporary world of social media, journalistic accounts of teen girls in trouble have been a mainstay of the U.S. news media. Often the stories represent these girls as either victims or whores (and sometimes both), using journalistic storytelling devices and news-gathering practices that question girls’ ability to perform femininity properly, especially as they act in public recreational space. These media accounts of supposed misbehavior can lead to moral panics that then further silence the voices of teenagers and young women. In From the Dance Hall to Facebook, Shayla Thiel-Stern takes a close look at several historical snapshots, including working-class girls in dance halls of the early 1900s; girls’ track and field teams in the 1920s to 1940s; Elvis Presley fans in the mid-1950s; punk rockers in the late 1970s and early 1980s; and girls using the Internet in the early twenty-first century. In each case, issues of gender, socioeconomic status, and race are explored within their historical context. The book argues that by marginalizing and stereotyping teen girls over the past century, mass media have perpetuated a pattern of gendered crisis that ultimately limits the cultural and political power of the young women it covers.

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From Yahweh to Yahoo!

The Religious Roots of the Secular Press

Doug Underwood

This wide-ranging study--hailed by American Journalism as one of the year's best books--provides a fresh and surprising view of the religious impulses at work in the typical newsroom by delving into the largely unexamined parallels between religion and journalism, from the "media" of antiquity to the electronic idolatry of the Internet. Focusing on how the history of religion in the United States has been entwined with the growth of the media, Doug Underwood argues that American journalists are rooted in the nation's moral and religious heritage and operate, in important ways, as personifications of the old religious virtues.

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Global Media Spectacle

News War over Hong Kong

Focusing on the global media coverage of Hong Kong’s transfer from Britain to China, Global Media Spectacle explores how the world media plan, operate, compete, and produce a historical record during significant global events. The authors interviewed seventy-six print and television reporters from the United States, Britain, the People’s Republic of China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Australia, Canada, and Japan to delve into the revealing world of writing first drafts of history from reporters’ vantage points. Punctuated with witty and incisive examples, the book provides a useful description of contestation and alliance, themes and variations, and convergence and divergence between and within various blocs of nations.

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Going Solo

Doing Videojournalism in the 21st Century

G. Stuart Smith


The traditional model of video news reporting has always had two separate roles: reporting and videography. For years, however, small-market news outlets have relied on “one-man bands”—individual reporters who shoot and edit their own video—for stories and footage. Lately, as the journalism landscape has evolved, this controversial practice has grown more and more popular. With the use of video constantly expanding, many large-market TV stations, networks, and newspaper Web sites are relying on one person to carry out a job formerly executed by two. News outlets now call these contributors VJs, digital journalists, backpack journalists, or mobile journalists. But no matter what they are called, there’s no denying the growing significance of solo videojournalists to the media landscape.
            Going Solo: Doing Videojournalism in the 21st Century details the controversy, history, and rise of this news genre, but its main objective is to show aspiring videojournalists how to learn the craft. While other textbooks depict the conventional reporter-and-videographer model, Going Solo innovates by teaching readers how to successfully juggle the skills traditionally required of two different people.
            Award-winning journalist G. Stuart Smith begins by describing how and why the media’s use of solo videojournalists is growing, then delves into the controversy over whether one person can cover a story as well as two. He illuminates how, together, the downsizing of the media, downturn in the economy, and growth of video on the Web have led to the rise of the solo videojournalist model. Going Solo profiles TV stations and newspaper Web operations across the country that are using the model and offers helpful advice from VJs in the field. The book presents useful guidelines on how to multitask as a reporter-videographer: conducting interviews, shooting cover video, and writing and editing a good video story. Readers will also learn how to produce non-narrated stories and market themselves in a competitive field.
            Smith, who started his career as a “one-man band,” insightfully covers an area of journalism that, despite its growing market demand, has received little academic attention. Going Solo: Doing Videojournalism in the 21st Century is useful for students learning the basics and those already in the field who need to upgrade their skills. By presenting industry know-how and valuable tips, this unique guidebook can help any enterprising videojournalist create a niche for him- or herself in the increasingly fragmented news media market.

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Governing Soviet Journalism

The Press and the Socialist Person after Stalin

Thomas C. Wolfe

The Soviet project of creating a new culture and society entailed a plan for the modeling of "new" persons who embodied and fulfilled the promise of socialism, and this vision was expressed in the institutions of government. Using archival sources, essays, and interviews with journalists, Thomas C. Wolfe provides an account of the final four decades of Soviet history viewed through the lens of journalism and media. Whereas most studies of the Soviet press approach its history in terms of propaganda or ideology, Wolfe's focus is on the effort to imagine a different kind of person and polity. Foucault's concept of governmentality illuminates the relationship between the idea of the socialist person and everyday journalistic representation, from the Khrushchev period to the 1990s and the appearance of the tabloid press. This thought-provoking study provides insights into the institutions of the Soviet press and the lives of journalists who experienced important transformations of their work.

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The Harrisburg 7 and the New Catholic Left

40th Anniversary Edition

William O'Rourke

“During the first three months of 1972 a trial took place in the middle district of Pennsylvania: THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA versus Eqbal Ahmad, Philip Berrigan, Elizabeth McAlister, Neil McLaughlin, Anthony Scoblick, Mary Cain Scoblick, Joseph Wenderoth. The defendants stood accused of conspiring to raid federal offices, to bomb government property, and to kidnap presidential advisor Henry Kissinger. Six of those seven individuals are, or were, Roman Catholic clergy—priests and nuns. Members of the new ‘Catholic Left.’”—from the introduction

When The Harrisburg 7 and the New Catholic Left was originally published in 1972, it remained on The New York Times Book Review “New and Recommended” list for six weeks and was selected as one of the Notable Books of the Year. Now, forty years later, William O’Rourke’s book eloquently speaks to a new generation of readers interested in American history and the religious anti-war protest movements of the Vietnam era.
O’Rourke brings to life the seven anti-war activists, who were vigorously prosecuted for alleged criminal plots, filling in the drama of the case, the trial, the events, the demonstrations, the panels, and the people. O’Rourke includes a new afterword that presents a sketch of the evolution of protest groups from the 1960s and 1970s, including the history of the New Catholic Left for the past four decades, claiming that “[a]fter the Harrisburg trial, the New Catholic Left became the New Catholic Right.”

“O’Rourke’s book on the Harrisburg trial was a classic when it first appeared and remains a classic of trial reporting, an account even forty years later that is still pertinent to our contemporary situation. His new afterword is a gem of condensed history. It is a boon to journalists, historians, and political analysts, as well as the general reader, to have this book back in print.” —David Black, author of The King of Fifth Avenue and The Extinction Event

Reviews for the first edition:

“. . . a paean to the seven religious revolutionaries, a rueful but loving acknowledgment of their ‘brave and foolish letters,’ and a solemn threnody for the Catholic left, ‘broken by the mortar and pestle of this trial.'" —New Republic

“[The book is] in my opinion, a discovery, not so much about the facts of the trial but about what the antiwar priests and nuns of today mean to Catholic youth.”—Herbert Mitgang, The Progressive
"This is not only the best volume on any of the recent political trials. . . but a clinical x-ray of our society’s condition." — Garry Wills, The New York Times Book Review

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