Concept and Market

moasicLiving Media Ethics: Across Platforms is written for students pursuing careers in advertising,  public relations,  journalism, broadcasting, newspapers, magazines, photojournalism, digital/multimedia, social media, technology, communication, strategic communication, and communication studies at the undergraduate level (with crossover to other disciplines including but not limited to marketing, political science and business).

New Content

Here is a brief selection of new content in the work:

  • Expanded theoretical base with citations from almost 100 books, augmented throughout the text with hundreds of links and journal citations for more timely material.
  • Coverage of ethical issues involving the 2016 presidential election, including Hillary Clinton’s “basket of deplorables” and Donald Trump’s “Access Hollywood” admissions.
  • Updated content on Fake News phenomenon, covered previously in the chapter on hoaxes.
  • Analysis of Rolling Stone’s “A Rape on Campus,” not only from the journalism viewpoint but also from the institution’s PR crisis management.
  • Social media advertising and posts by Russian operatives intended to cause division in the electorate, impacting all aspects of mass communication.
  • Analysis of the 2005-07 email hacking scandal involving the now-defunct News of the World and other British publications affiliated with News International, a subsidiary of News Corporation.
  • Content about the 2015 suspension of Brian Williams, NBC Nightly News anchor, after he exaggerated an account that he had referenced many times about being onboard a military helicopter that took enemy fire during the 2003 Iraq War.
  • Added sections to plagiarism, including analysis of the 2016 plagiarized sections of Melania Trump’s speech to the Republication National Convention, which borrowed from Michele Obama’s 2008 speech.
  • An expanded chapter on Bias with more content on Islamic stereotypes. Also, interviews with Time and Center for Investigative Reporting on diversity in newsrooms.
  • Google’s decision to leave the China market and China’s government blocking the search engine.
  • More information about understanding cultural norms in foreign countries has been added, expanding the section on discretion.
  • Use of the n-word—host Bill Maher and others—in the segment on taste and social media. (Use of the word as well as other sensitive or potentially offensive material is tagged with a trigger warning in the text.)
  • A section about the Kosovo War and embedding of troops in Operation Iraqi Freedom has been added, with an interview with a formal Air Force colonel and current executive for Raytheon.
  • New sections have been added on compassion, forgiveness, sympathy and empathy. It is important not only for students to understand these concepts but also to capture the emotions in content across platforms, as those photos, videos, campaigns, etc., are powerful examples of human interest.
  • Practical information about creating a personal ethics code for a digital portfolio in preparing for internships and jobs. Information includes content on WordPress, Tumblr, Weebly and Wix.


Unlike other top-selling ethics texts, which focus on news-editorial, Living Media Ethics focuses on all platforms because practitioners of each deal everyday with other journalists and professionals and so must understand their policies and practices. Moreover, while circumstances of ethical issues may vary, the moral processes are usually the same.

The text is designed as required for media ethics classes. However, professors may wish to use the text for the emphasis on values, philosophy and media history or for the exercises and ethics code/portfolio information. Although the work cites traditional, modern and Asian/African philosophy, it does not rely heavily on philosophy and theory, as do other media ethics books. Rather, Living Media Ethics cites media history’s influence on standards and practices. Thus, students will learn the ethics and approaches of such figures as Ben Franklin, Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman, Abraham Lincoln and Eleanor Roosevelt and many others who arguably had substantial impact and influence on media. Whenever possible, philosophy and media history combine to put into context our lives in the 21st century.


Living Media Ethics seeks to: (a) evoke emotional intelligence associated with conscience and consciousness, so that students feel as well as know their values; (b) spark discussions via case studies from a morally informed perspective; and (c) encourage students to develop values in the work place by assembling personal ethics codes in online portfolios–key in securing employment in the digital age.

Click here to view the online portfolios of students studying media ethics with author Michael Bugeja at Iowa State’s Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication.

At the end of each chapter the book contains personal and group (instructor/discussion leader) ethics/journal exercises. Students should use those journal exercises as content for their own “living media ethics” blogs featuring their media-related work to be included in an online portfolio with personal ethics code.

Additionally, each chapter will contain:

  • Content about values that applies across all media platforms. (Because content focuses on values, teachers will be able to adapt it to support existing lectures or generate course revisions, deepening the level of instruction.)
  • Exercises to build, test and enhance individual value systems. (End-of-chapter exercises provide instructors with a convenient system to monitor the ethical development of their students.)
  • Writing and creative assignments to assemble a professional ethics code and online portfolio. The work is written in an engaging style, meant to encourage readers to explore and analyze their own values and that of the various media, with the ultimate goal of aligning their values with that of a company for which they hope one day to work.

Market Considerations

Living Media Ethics is designed, primarily, as a required book. The text builds, challenges and enhances the individual value systems of students in a precise, step-by-step manner, culminating in a practical digital document to help secure internships and first jobs. No other ethics text in use today focuses exclusively on values with personal codes in digital portfolios. As such, classes based on Living Media Ethics are both conceptual and skills-based.

The book will be a new edition. The author has seven years of updated content material already collected. The work totals 140,000 words.

Content across media platforms in print, broadcast and digital/multimedia journalism; advertising; and public relations.


Can be used in capstone or principles classes in departments and schools of journalism and mass communication (advertising and public relations)

Focus on conscience and consciousness working in tandem with each other to build, test and enhance students’ personal value systems.  Conscience and consciousness are presented as dual aspects of the human condition, with scholarly citations documenting same.

This is the author’s major contribution to the field of media ethics, as evidenced by the winning of the Clifford G. Christians Award for Media Ethics, the only scholar to win the award twice—for Interpersonal Divide and Living Media Ethics.

End-of-chapter assignments that encourage blogging about media ethics.

Assignments encourage students to blog about their personal ethical encounters and also can be used for graded work, each building a value system showcased in the final product: an online portfolio with personal ethics code.

Final digital product: an online portfolio with personal ethics code.

Helps with internship and employment placement. For a sample of codes, visit: