Philosophy as news: Bioethics, journalism and public policy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


News media accounts of issues in bioethics gain significance to the extent that the media influence public policy and inform personal decision making. The increasingly frequent appearance of bioethics in the news thus imposes responsibilities on journalists and their sources. These responsibilities are identified and discussed, as is (i) the concept of 'newsworthiness' as applied to bioethics, (ii) the variable quality of bioethics reportage and (iii) journalists' reliance on ethicists to pass judgment. Because of the potential social and other benefits of high quality reporting on ethical issues, it is argued that journalists and their bioethics sources should explore and accommodate more productive relationships. An optimal journalism-ethics relationship will be one characterized by 'para-ethics,' in which journalistic constraints are noted but also in which issues and arguments are presented without oversimplification and credible disagreement is given appropriate attention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)181-200
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Medicine and Philosophy
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 1999


  • Bioethics
  • Experts
  • Journalism
  • News media
  • Para-ethics
  • Public policy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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