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News as a commodity topic of award-winning book

March 12, 2009

KALAMAZOO--The ethical issues surrounding turning news into a commodity to sell to the public and its effects on what is reported is the topic of an award-winning book from a Western Michigan University faculty member.

Dr. Sandra Borden, professor of communication, won the 2008 award for top book in applied ethics from the National Communication Association's Communication Ethics Division. Founded in 1914, the NCA is the nation's largest and oldest association for scholars and teachers involved in communication research and education, with about 7,700 members.

Published in December 2007, "Journalism as Practice" is part of the Ashgate Studies in Applied Ethics series and looks at ethics in journalism from a philosophical, historical and legal perspective. Aimed equally at students of media, journalism and philosophy, it applies philosopher Alasdair MacIntyre's virtue theory to argue that journalism as a "practice" is normatively defined by the pursuit of goods appropriate to its purpose--and that money and other "external" goods threaten that pursuit. Borden argues that developing and promoting the kind of robust group identity implied by the idea of a practice can help journalism better withstand the moral challenges posed by commodification.

Borden's book also won the 2008 Clifford G. Christians Ethics Research Award given annually by the Carl Couch Center for Social and Internet Research and placed in the top three for the 2008 Tankard Book Award given annually by the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication.

At WMU, Borden co-directs the Center for the Study of Ethics in Society and sits on the advisory board of the Research Ethics Resource Center. Her research on journalism ethics has been published in several books and journals, including Oxford University Press's Conflict of Interest in the Professions, the Journal of Mass Media Ethics, Communication Monographs and the International Journal of Applied Philosophy.

Borden is active in the AEJMC and the Association for Practical and Professional Ethics and holds a doctoral degree from Indiana University and a master's degree from Ohio State University.

Media contact: Deanne Molinari, (269) 387-8400, deanne.molinari@wmich.edu

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