Date Approved


Embargo Period


Document Type


Degree Name

M.A. in Public Relations


Public Relations & Advertising


Ric Edelman College of Communication & Creative Arts


Bagin, Donald


Applied ethics; Mass media--Moral and ethical aspects


Public Relations and Advertising


The purposes of this study were (a) to discover ethical dilemmas faced in the media and how they affect society; and (b) to determine what new ethical principles need to be established for media to gain back trust from today's society. The author found that lower news reporting standards such as fabrication of information and sources, using false documents and failure to check facts caused members of society to become sensitive and question the integrity of news stations and reporters as well as the validity of news being reported. Because the press has lost the trust of the American people, they can attempt to gain it back in one way-establish new ethical principles fit for a sensitive society. Six-question e-mail surveys were sent to ten media experts to determine ethical principles media should follow when reporting news. Media experts included those in the fields of print, radio, television as well as ethics professors. Survey results found that 40 percent of respondents feel that media ethics are deteriorating, 40 percent feel media ethics are not deteriorating, and 20 percent are unsure if media ethics are deteriorating. The top three principles were: Tell the truth, provide accurate reporting in news stories, and mitigate harm as much as possible.