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This book teaches students how to make the difficult ethical decisions that journalists routinely face. By taking a case-based approach, the authors argue that the best way to make an ethical decision is to look closely at a particular situation, rather than looking first to an abstract set of ethical theories or principles. This book goes beyond the traditional approaches of many other journalism textbooks by using cases as the starting point for building ethical practices. Casuistry, the technical name of such a method, develops provisional guidelines from the bottom up by reasoning analogically from an "easy" ethical case (the "paradigm") to "harder" ethical cases. Thoroughly grounded in actual experience, this method admits more nuanced judgments than most theoretical approaches.
David E. Boeyink is Associate Professor of Journalism and Director of the Journalism Honors Program at Indiana University. His research on the ethics of decision-making in the newsroom is published in Journalism Quarterly, the Journal of Mass Media Ethics, and the Newspaper Research Journal. Sandra L. Borden is Professor of Communication and Co-Director of the Center for the Study of Ethics in Society at Western Michigan University. She is author of Journalism as Practice: MacIntyre, Virtue Ethics and the Press (available in paperback from Routledge), winner of the 2008 Award for Top Book in Applied Ethics from the National Communication Association's Communication Ethics Division.