Media Ethics Initiative

Home » Events

Category Archives: Events

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

Follow us on Facebook

[Video Here]

ds2 d


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

BW Pic

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]

Media, Democracy, and Education

The Media Ethics Initiative Presents:

Are New Media Technologies Good for Education and Democracy?


Dr. Gregory F. Pappas

Professor of Philosophy, Texas A & M University

October 26 – 12:30-2PM – CMA 5.136

We live in a digital-electronic age and the internet is becoming more the central medium of information and communication. Dr. Gregory Pappas, a philosopher in the pragmatist tradition, explores the following questions and provide some answers in this research talk. Are the new media technologies good for education or the improvement of learning? Do they help us solve the crisis of education today? How do they foreground certain concepts of the “good” or “bad” when employed in education?   What do these new media technologies mean for a deep sense of democracy, or the view inherent in some strains of American thought that seeks to improve citizen participation and empowerment?

Dr. Gregory Fernando Pappas is a Distinguished Fellow for the Latino Research Initiative at The University of Texas at Austin and Professor of Philosophy at Texas A & M University. Dr. Pappas works within the American Pragmatist and Latin American traditions in ethics and social-political philosophy. He is the author of the books Pragmatism in the Americas and John Dewey’s Ethics: Democracy as Experience; he is also the editor-in-chief of The Inter-American Journal of Philosophy and the Vice President of the Society for the Advancement of American Philosophy.  His current research project, “An Inter-American Approach to the Problems of Injustice,” develops a theoretical framework for approaching problems of injustice in Latino communities, drawing on the insights of philosophers (e.g., Luis Villoro, Gloria Anzaldua, Jane Addams, John Dewey) concerned with local injustices in different regions of the Americas.  

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]


Ethics and Climate Communication

The Media Ethics Initiative Presents:

Ethics and the Appeal to Scientific Consensus in the Climate Change Debates



Dr. Jean Goodwin

Professor of Communication

North Carolina State University

November 14, 2017 —  2:00-3:30PM

BMC 5.208

What are the ethical choices being made when arguers claim that there is a scientific consensus backing their stance on climate change? Is this a simple claim to make, or a complex ethical choice that limits other possibilities in discussing the changing climate? Contemporary argumentation theory has shown that arguers themselves are responsible for creating the local ethical terrain in which they are obligated to make and consider good arguments. Since the first Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report in 1990, scientists and their allies have imposed on themselves an obligation to build climate policy  on the firm foundation of a scientific consensus. More than a quarter century later, it is now apparent that this obligation cannot be met. The interminable debates over consensus have distorted public deliberations about vital issues of climate policy and created enemy climate tribes. It is time to stop. Rhetoricians–who should have known better from the beginning–can point to more productive approaches to this contentious issue.

Dr. Jean Goodwin, a professor in the Department of Communication at North Carolina State University, studies how scientists can communicate appropriately and effectively to non-expert audiences. She took her baby steps in research by examining how citizens who deeply disagree can nevertheless manage to reason with each other. The communication techniques she uncovered among ancient Roman orators and contemporary policy advocates have proved surprisingly relevant to the challenges scientists face when they try to earn trust in controversial contexts. Goodwin uses discourse analysis to tease out the ways outstanding scientist-communicators address difficult audiences on topics such as GMOs and climate change. She also uses conceptual analysis to connect these practices to broader theories of the responsibilities and roles scientists can undertake in civic life. Her National Science Foundation-funded project, Teaching Responsible Communication of Science, crafted case studies that invite science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) graduate students to address communication challenges based on actual events.

Free and open to the UT community and general public

For further information, contact Dr. Scott Stroud

Follow us on Facebook

[Video here]

005 jg

The Ethics of Green Advertising

The Media Ethics Initiative Presents:

Can We Shop Our Way to a Better Planet? The Promises and Pitfalls of Green Consumption

Dr. Lucy Atkinson, University of Texas at Austin

la mei

September 21, 11AM-12PM, CMA 5.136

From organic bananas and Fair-trade coffee to hybrid cars and canvas shopping bags: sustainable consumption is increasingly seen as a solution to the environmental problems brought on by climate change. Dr. Atkinson will present research that examines the ways green advertising and other persuasive environmental messages encourage consumers to adopt pro-social, civic-minded orientations in the marketplace, and the ethical questions that arise.

Lucy Atkinson is an associate professor in the Stan Richards School of Advertising and Public Relations at the University of Texas at Austin. Her primary area of research focuses on the intersection of politics and consumer behavior, particularly among young people. For example, she explores whether and to what degree socially conscious consumption, such as buying fair-trade coffee or hybrid cars, either helps or hinders conventional civic and political engagement, such as voting and volunteering. A second stream of research explores the roles of consumption and media use in fostering identity. Her recent work in this vein has studied brand communities in online social networking sites and how individuals think of themselves and their profiles as online brands. She teaches classes in advertising history, public relations, journalism, research methods, media effects and consumer behavior.

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]


Rhetorics of the Good Life

The Media Ethics Initiative Presents:

Rhetorics of the Good Life: Social Ontology, Ethics, and Communication



Dr. Omedi Ochieng

Assistant Professor of Communication

Denison University

May 3, 2017 — 3-4:30PM

CMA 5.136 (LBJ Seminar Room)


How ought we to think of the meaning of “ethics” in light of global climate change, resurgent white supremacy, and the everyday cruelties of neoliberal capitalism? In this presentation, I outline what I describe as a non-ideal social ontology as the background against which a robust understanding of ethics ought to be understood. In contrast to the dominant views of ethical interaction which list toward idealism, moralism, and parochialism, a non-ideal social ontology allows for an expansive vision of the “ethical” as a way of life – and thereby invites wide-ranging inquiry into what constitutes good societies and good lives in the twenty-first century. Finally, this presentation seeks to open up space on how we ought to participate in and engage with constitutive institutions such as mass and social media in an age when truth is increasingly seen as partisan, justice is dismissed as utopian, and freedom has been tribalized.

Dr. Omedi Ochieng, an Assistant Professor at Denison University, is the author of Groundwork for the Practice of the Good Life: Politics and Ethics at the Intersection of the North Atlantic and African Philosophy (Routledge, 2017). His areas of specialization include the rhetoric of philosophy, comparative philosophy, and social theory. He has published articles in the International Philosophical Quarterly, Radical Philosophy, and the Western Journal of Communication.

Free and open to the UT community and general public

For further information, contact Dr. Scott Stroud



%d bloggers like this: