Ethics experts and media organizations have been concerned in the last decade with the new moral challenges coming from online journalism and the need to readjust the present deontological codes for journalists. Our project focuses on a broader sphere of digital journalism, namely on the “civic journalism” practiced on blogs by columnists.
Their confusions of roles (journalist vs. civic advocate) engender typical moral issues, such as conflicts of interests, the promotion of certain political or economic agendas, denial of responsibility for inaccurate information, lack of distinction between advocacy and factual information.
In the ethical assessment of these moral imbroglios, we identify ethical dilemmas typical of “civic journalism”: public/institutional censorship vs. self-regulation; impartiality vs. advocacy and hidden political agenda; transparent identity vs. fake identity.
In order to conceptualize the moral dilemmas which have emerged in civic journalism, we will use concepts belonging to journalism ethics, contemporary moral philosophy (Habermas, Taylor), concepts in the sociology of “professional fields” (Bourdieu), as well as concrete instruments of analysis of the ethical decisions in journalism (“the Potter Box”). In spite of the anti-normativity assumed by bloggers, our aim is to make aware both theorists and journalists of the need of “local” principles and values which are meant to develop the existing deontological codes and the “internet etiquette”.
- Project director: Dr. Victor POPESCU
- Project title: Moral Dilemmas in Online Journalism. Rethinking Ethical Principles for “Civic Journalism”
- Project code: PN-II-RU-PD-2011-3-0037
- Program: “Cercetare Post-Doctorala” [Postdoctoral Research]
- Financed by: CNCS-UEFISCDI
- Period of Time: October 2011 – September 2013
- December 2011: The study ”Husserl and Professional Virtues. A Phenomenological Approach to Media Ethics” is published in Studia UBB Philosophia (vol. 56, nr. 3/2011)
- April 26, 2012: The personal communication “Etica habermasiană a discursului: aplicații în mass-media” [The Habermasian discourse ethics: some applications in mass-media], presented at the ”Alexandru Dragomir” Institute for Philosophy in Bucharest.
- September 15, 2012: Presentation of the paper ”Bloggers providing an ‘antidote’ to editorial misconduct. A case study from Romania” at the conference ”Matters of Journalism: Understanding Professional Challenges and Dilemmas”, Gdańsk, September 14-15, 2012.
- November 8-9, 2012: participation without presentation in the conference ”New Media and Public Sphere”, organized by the University of Copenhagen.
- November 7-16, 2012: research travel to Copenhagen – the documentation took place at the Royal Library in Copenhagen.
- March 14, 2013: Presentation of the paper (in French) ”Nouveaux enjeux dans l’interaction media-lecteurs: les commentaires en ligne et l’ethique habermasienne du discours”, at the International Symposium ”Actualité scientifique en communication des organisations: questionner les nouveaux enjeux, problématiques et pratiques”, Bucharest, March 14-16, 2013.
- April 26, 2013: Personal communication ”Provocări etice în jurnalismul on-line. Aplicaţii ale eticii discursului” [Ethical challanges for the online journalism. Some application of the discours ethics], presented at the Center for Research in Applied Ethics (CCEA), from the Faculty of Philosophy, Bucharest University
- June 15, 2013: Presentation of the paper ”Who Cares About What Readers Say? Ethical Issues in the Romanian Online News-Press” at the ”ISIS-Greece International Multidisciplinary Academic Conference” in Thessaloniki, June 13-15, 2013.
- August 2013: the study ”Bloggers, Journalism and Epistemic Responsibility” will appear in the collective volume of Valentin Mureșan and Shunzo Majima (eds.), ”Applied Ethics. Perspectives from Romania”, Center for Applied Ethics and Philosophy, Hokkaido University, 2013, pp. 276-291.
October 2011-March 2012
- Research and synthesis of the typical moral issues and dilemmas of blogging and civic journalism. Identification of the new challenges in new media ethics in comparison with traditional media (paper, radio, TV).
- Development of some approaches for the online media ethics:
- virtue ethics (S. Borden, D.A. Craig)
- phenomenological insights concerning the professional ethics (Husserl and the concept of ”Beruf”)
- Discussions with the monitor (Cristian Ciocan) regarding the consistency of the theoretical foundation of the project and the possible improvements of the ethical approach.
- Writing an article for an international academic journal specialized in ethics and philosophy. The theme would be merely theoretical, concerning the revisions proposed for media ethics .
April 2012-September 2012
- Collaboration and experience changes with the Romanian centers for applied ethics, mainly with the Center for Research in Applied Ethics from the Faculty of Philosophy (University of Bucharest). – the main topic of interest: the ethical management or how to create, adjust and enforce an ethical code and the efficient routines for the moral issues of the organization.
- Identification of a corpus of cases in the Romanian online and traditional press, in order to test the relevance of our ethical approach: analysis of deontological issues in Romanian press, like Cotidianul.ro; TVR 1 etc.
- Participation in an international conference on ethics and communication (Gdansk, September 2012).
October 2012-March 2013
- Analysis and comparison of Romanian and international laws, recommendations and deontological codes which apply to online journalism. – conclusion: there is a lack of updating of media codes for the online medium, but bloggers’ critique concerning the weak professionalization in online journalism could support in a peculiar way the ideal of self-regulation in media.
- Dissemination of some of the ideas concerning the necessity of new ethical grounding and rules for online journalism (collaboration with the Romanian page of the website of the European Journalism Observatory)
- Development of new and more appropriate tools for the online media ethics.
- the analysis discourse and the ethics of discourse in J. Habermas’ work.
- topics of research: the public space and the democratization by means of new media (P. Dahlgren)
March 2013-September 2013
- Writing an article for an international collective book specialized in the applied ethics in Romania (the book is to be published in Japan). The article focuses on the ethical and intellectual virtues in online journalism.
- Preparing a new article from a the ethical discourse perspective on the interaction between journalists and readers in the comment forums of the online new press. – acquiring some base principle of content and discourse analysis. – adapting the ethical rules of the ”ideal speech situation” (Habermas) for the case of the comment forums in the online press.
- Participation in two international conferences on communication and social sciences (Bucharest, March 2013, and Thessalonki, June 2013).
- Dissemination of the ideas and new approaches in online media ethics in the academic field (personal communication at the Center for Research in Applied) and for the professionals (publication of an ethical ”manifesto” on the site uzp.org.ro of the Professional Journalists’ Association in Romania)
- Victor Popescu, Husserl and Professional Virtues. A Phenomenological Approach to Media Ethics, in Studia UBB Philosophia (vol. 56, nr. 3/2011), pp. 127-140.
- Victor Popescu, Bloggers, Journalism and Epistemic Responsibility, in Valentin Mureșan and Shunzo Majima (eds.), Applied Ethics. Perspectives from Romania, Center for Applied Ethics and Philosophy, Hokkaido University, 2013, pp. 276-291.
- Victor Popescu, Who Cares About What Readers Say? Ethical Issus in the Online Romanian News-Press (in work).
- June 15, 2013: Who Cares About What Readers Say? Ethical Issues in the Romanian Online News-Press, at the ISIS-Greece International Multidisciplinary Academic Conference, June 13-15, 2013, The Institute for Strategic and International Studies-ISIS, Thessaloniki;
- March 14, 2013: Nouveaux enjeux dans l’interaction media-lecteurs: les commentaires en ligne et l’éthique habermasienne du discours, at the International Colloque Actualité scientifique en communication des organisations:questionner les nouveaux enjeux, problématiques et pratiques, March 14-16, 2013, Bucharest;
- September 15, 2012: Bloggers providing an ‘antidote’ to editorial misconduct. A case study from Romania, at the conference Matters of Journalism: Understanding Professional Challenges and Dilemmas, University of Gdańsk, September 14-15, 2012.
- April 26, 2013: Provocări etice în jurnalismul on-line. Aplicaţii ale eticii discursului [Ethical challenges for the online journalism. Some application of the discourse ethics], at Reuniunile de vineri, at the Center for Research in Applied Ethics (CCEA), Faculty of Philosophy, University of Bucharest;
- April 26, 2012: “Etica habermasiană a discursului: aplicații în mass-media” [The Habermasian discourse ethics: some applications in mass-media], at the Alexandru Dragomir Institute for Philosophy, Bucharest.