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Media Ethics moves online

Media Ethics, a nonprofit publication started by Emerson faculty and sponsored by the College since its inception, recently converted to a solely online format. Its publishers say the transition is in line with what many nonprofit publications are doing today: recognizing web as a viable outlet for readers and a much more cost-effective option for publishers.


Media Ethics is available online at

A group of communication and media enthusiasts started Media Ethics in 1986 with the goals of tracking developments in media ethics and educating the public on issues related to ethics in journalism, advertising, and related areas. Tom Cooper, a Visual and Media Arts professor at Emerson and co-publisher of Media Ethics, is one of the publication’s founding members. He said Media Ethics started as a four-page newsletter and eventually reached 45 pages at its height. The free magazine was sent to subscribers and distributed at conferences and schools. Cooper said they even had a few surprises, including requests for copies from The White House.

Co-publisher and Emerson Journalism Professor Emmanuel Paraschos described the magazine as “an outlet for thought and opinion about media ethics for academics, editors, graduate students, and the like.”

The Media Ethics staff launched a website for the magazine in 2003, Paraschos said, but it was secondary to the print edition. After more than 20 years of regular publications, the staff decided printing Media Ethics was too expensive. Everyone who writes for and works for the magazine does so for free, so cutting costs other ways was difficult. Going online is also environmentally friendly, allowing for unlimited storage; it also allows for daily updates, instead of every few months, like the print edition.

Although some people were opposed to the transition, Cooper said, most understood that the web offers many benefits, especially for a nonprofit. “There are a few people who think that print is a little more gourmet, more high pedigree…that it’s not classy to go online. But that attitude is dying quickly.”

The website was completely revamped for the transition. Cooper said the fresh look is an important milestone for the publication, and took a lot of time and effort. To view the website and read the latest in media ethics opinion and news, visit

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