You are here

Delays in shipping: Due to current delays in our warehouse shipping services, please expect longer than usual delivery times for any print book and journal orders. If you need access to content immediately, please consider ordering a digital product. We apologize for any inconvenience and thank you for your patience.

If you need further assistance please visit our Contact us page for further information. 

Media Ethics

Media Ethics
Key Principles for Responsible Practice

Second Edition
  • Patrick Lee Plaisance - Penn State University, Colorado State University, USA, Syracuse University, Norfolk State University, Thomas Nelson Community College

November 2013 | 288 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc
Media Ethics: Key Principles for Responsible Practice makes ethics accessible and applicable to media practice, and explains key ethical principles and their application in print and broadcast journalism, public relations, advertising, marketing, and digital media. Unlike application-oriented casebooks, this text sets forth the philosophical underpinnings of key principles and explains how each should guide responsible media behavior. Author Patrick Lee Plaisance synthesizes classical and contemporary ethics in an accessible way to help students ask the right questions and develop their critical reasoning skills, as both media consumers and media professionals of the future. The Second Edition includes new examples and case studies, expanded coverage of digital media, and two new chapters that distinguish the three major frameworks of media ethics and explore the discipline across new media platforms, including blogs, new forms of digital journalism, and social networking sites.

1. Ethics Theory: An Overview
2. Key Frameworks
3. Ethics Theory: Application to Media
4. Technology
5. Transparency
6. Justice
7. Harm
8. Autonomy
9. Privacy
10. Community
11. Conclusion
About the Author

"This book, more than any other media ethics textbook currently available, treats students as the intellectually curious, philosophically aware, and ethically motivated individuals that we hope them to be. As one brings one’s own wisdom to the reading with the understanding that there is more to learn, this is one of those rare books that has the potential to keep on giving to professors and to students."

Deni Elliott
The University of South Florida

Straightforward approach to ethical considerations

Dr Margaret Ostrenko
Communications Dept, University Of Tampa
October 16, 2015

An accessible text that pitches the subject at an appropriate level for second years.

Ms Sarah Cooper
Faculty of Creative Technologies, Leeds Metropolitan University
June 18, 2015

The book will be regularly used in classes and recommended to students.

Dr Martina Topic
Leeds Business School, Leeds Beckett University
January 20, 2015

Easy and accessible reading for students.

Ms Sandra Pitcher
Media and Cultural Studies, Univ. of Kwazulu-Natal
July 2, 2014
Key features


  • A new Chapter 2, Key Frameworks, explains the distinctions, merits, and problems of the three strains of thoughts that dominate the philosophy of ethics: duty ethics, virtue ethics, and consequentialist ethics.
  • A new Chapter 4, Technology, introduces students to the philosophy of technology and explores the ethical implications of the world of social media and emerging media technologies. This chapter is designed to more comprehensively link ethics theory to our digital media world. It also is intended to set the stage for substantive discussion on topics such as what values might be embedded in technologies, and how the architecture of social media influences the ways in which we communicate with each other.
  • Updated and revised material appears in all chapters.
  • New and updated case studies have been added to the Case in Point features and each principles chapter features an added digital media Case in Point.
  • New discussions link media “practice” with broader notions of public trust and public service that are inherent in how we define professionalism.


  • Foundational coverage in ethical theory explores ethical principles important to the behavior of media professionals and the judgments of media consumers.
  • Chapter-length coverage of central ethical considerations—technology, transparency, justice, harm, autonomy, privacy, and, community—places each principle in the context of media practice.
  • More than three dozen relevant, up-to-date media cases and examples (such as the use of crowdsourced news to cover the Boston bombings, the online publication of gun ownership maps following the Sandy Hook shootings, and advertisers’ datamining of shopping behavior to target consumers) illustrate the relevance of key principles to the work of journalism, public relations, and advertising.
  • The innovative MERITS (Multidimensional Ethical Reasoning and Inquiry Task Sheet) model helps students apply key ethical principles to media dilemmas.
  • Theories from a wide range of disciplines, including mass communication research on media sociology and audience effects, as well as philosophy and sociology, are synthesized and made accessible.
  • Ethics theory is applied to the online world to illustrate that ethical values don’t change with the medium, nor should they be driven by technology.

Sage College Publishing

You can purchase this book and request an instructor sample on our US College site:

Go To College Site

This title is also available on SAGE Knowledge, the ultimate social sciences online library. If your library doesn’t have access, ask your librarian to start a trial.