Document Type




Format of Original

20 p.

Publication Date

Winter 2009


Marquette Books LLC

Source Publication

Journal of Media Law and Ethics

Source ISSN



This essay urges scholars in media law and ethics to reevaluate the extent and utility of their public-scholar efforts and to consider ways that they can transfer research-based knowledge to public audiences while also playing a more deliberate role in holding media and government institutions accountable. It suggests that the devolution of standards in mass communication, the increasing encroachments on media autonomy, and the broader collapse of power into fewer hands make this a particularly urgent moment for scholars to reengage the public and to abandon their feckless neutrality on public issues. The overarching aim of public scholars ought to be to serve as bulwarks against the unrelenting and asocial exercise of institutional power, and this essay suggests that media law and ethics scholars, because of the normative emphasis within their fields, are uniquely situated to serve that goal.


Published version. Journal of Media Law and Ethics, Vol. 1, No. 2 (Winter/Spring 2009): 5-26. DOI. © 2009 Marquette Books LLC. Used with permission.

This journal is now published by the University of Baltimore.

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