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Monthly Archives: October 2017

Moral Psychology on Why We Love Stories

Did you miss the last Media Ethics Initiative talk on stories and moral psychology? Catch up now by watching Dr. Robert Lewis (UT Austin) explore the relationship between the psychology of moral reasoning and our love of mediated stories.


Anthems and Activism in the NFL

Mediating the Politics of the NFL

Did you miss the exciting Media Ethics Initiative research talk on the controversial NFL national anthem protests? Or did you try to catch the talk, but couldn’t find a free seat in the packed room? Or perhaps you want to relive the excitement once more? Now you can watch Dr. Michael Butterworth (UT Austin) discuss the ethical issues in the recent NFL anthem protests and the media coverage they evoked on our Youtube channel.

The Dark Side of Social Media

The Media Ethics Initiative Presents:

The Dark Side of Social Media: A Panel Discussion


November 6, 2017 (Monday) — 1:00-2:00pm — BMC 5.208

What is the dark side to social media use? What can be done to improve our social media landscape? What are the ethical values and issues with our constant digital monitoring and publicizing of our every activity? Join the editor and authors of the recent book, The Dark Side of Social Media, for a discussion over how the internet and our social media activities can go tragically wrong. Topics discussed will include online privacy, wearable technologies, online revenge porn, and the power of blogging.


Dr. Angeline Close Scheinbaum, Advertising, UT Austin

Allye Doorey, The Richards Group

Dr. Gary Wilcox, Advertising, UT Austin

Dr. Scott R. Stroud, Communication Studies, UT Austin

Jonathan Henson, Communication Studies, UT Austin

Free and open to the UT community

For further information, contact Dr. Scott Stroud

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[Video Here]

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Stories, Ethics, and Media Psychology

Lewis Oct 2017

The Media Ethics Initiative Presents:

Media Psychology’s Explanation for Why You love Stories: A Morally Ambiguous Resolution

Dr. Robert Lewis

Stan Richards School of Advertising & Public Relations

University of Texas at Austin

October 19, 2017 – 11:30am-12:30pm – CMA 5.136

Most people spend their leisure time engaged in social interactions and mediated stories. My long-term goal is to examine the intersection of these two behaviors. I believe mediated stories are part of a larger set of nonlinear communication processes able to bind and polarize social groups. Explaining these processes is fundamental for media scholars, and useful for practitioners who rely on trust to persuade audiences. This talk identifies previously unexplored avenues for how mediated stories enhance interpersonal trust and cooperation. The talk will also discuss broadly the influence of recent advances in moral psychology and their impact on media and entertainment theory.

Dr. Robert Lewis is an assistant professor in the Stan Richards School of Advertising and Public Relations at UT Austin. He studies moral clarity and moral ambiguity in narrative entertainment, including how do the media synchronize our thoughts and emotions so that we can cooperate as a society. His research helps tie together different theoretical approaches in communication and related disciplines with the common explanatory threads of moral clarity, moral ambiguity, and the interpersonal-level effects they elicit. His work is published in outlets such as the International Journal of Arts & Technology, Mass Communication & Society, Journal of Communication, and Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking.

Free and open to the UT community and general public

[Video of talk here]

Anthems and Activism in the NFL

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The Media Ethics Initiative Presents:

Anthems and Activism: Mediating the Politics of the NFL

Dr. Michael L. Butterworth

University of Texas at Austin

October 11, 2017 — 1:00-2:00pm — CMA 5.136

In recent months, professional football players have used the national anthem ceremony as a stage for political protest. Such moments of activism have sparked significant conversation and controversy, and they have also received substantial media coverage. This talk examines the ethical and historical context for political protest in sports, considers the relationship between the NFL and sports media, and speculates about the future of activism during the national anthem and beyond.

Dr. Michael L. Butterworth is a Professor in the Department of Communication Studies and Director of the Center for Sports Communication & Media at the University of Texas at Austin. His research explores the connections between rhetoric, politics, and sport, with particular interests in national identity, militarism, and public memory. He is the author of Baseball and Rhetorics of Purity: The National Pastime and American Identity during the War on Terror, co-author of Communication and Sport: Surveying the Field, and editor of Sport and Militarism: Contemporary Global Perspectives.

Free and open to the UT community and general public

For further information, contact Dr. Scott Stroud

Follow us on Facebook

[Video of Talk here]

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