Ward's Words

A frank, personal view of the leading ethics issues at home
and abroad

By Stephen J. A. Ward

James E. Burgess Professor of Journalism Ethics
Director, Center for Journalism Ethics
School of Journalism and Mass Communication, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Dancing with the Shieks: Freedom in a Global Age

In a global age, there is no master plan for advancing media freedom, writes Stephen J.A. Ward. There are only the precarious, pragmatic efforts of journalists to push the boundaries of societies that have been wary of the Western idea of press freedom. Ward explores the tensions between new and old practices by focusing on a radio talk show host in Dubai.

Carrying a Torch for Ethics
With any other controversial story involving $2 billion in taxpayers' money, journalists would fall over themselves to cultivate a critical approach, writes Stephen J.A. Ward. Why is it different with the Olympics?

Emotion in reporting: use and abuse

Reporters are not automatons, but emotion in journalism can be manipulated. When is expression of emotions self-promotion or self-congratulation and when is it true compassion?

How to avoid ethical snags in non-profit journalism
The line between funder and journalist is tough to honour. But the right policies could make non-profit networks pioneers in media accountability.

Journalism in the Entreprenurial Age

Funding experiments are welcome and there’s nothing wrong with journalists looking for new ways to pay for reporting. But why assume funding from a foundation is any less fraught with potential conflicts than advertising from Zellers?

Guidelines for guidelines: Social media policies spark debate
Stephen Ward examines guidelines for social media.

Let the Public Help Guide Journalism Ethics
For too long, journalists have indulged in cant about how their standards meet the expectations of the public, and how they seek public input on ethical issues. How do we know what the public expects, or should expect? The only way is to engage the public in a dialogue on standards, in a direct, meaningful and sustained manner.

A New Journalist's Creed

Journalism ethics, to remain relevant, must undergo a radical change — a philosophical revolution in how it sees itself and understands its values. Piecemeal adjustments won’t cut it, writes Stephen J. Ward.

The "Torturous" Struggle to State a Fact
Torture is torture, not "harsh methods," writes Stephen J.A. Ward. Journalists shouldn't shy away from controversial language, even when its connotations spark cries of bias.

Is it Time to Close Journalism Schools?
No, writes Stephen J.A.Ward. The world needs "knowledge-based, research-capable" journalists who are trained to think critically, philosophically and broad-mindedly at schools emphasizing "mixed journalism."

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