Philosophy of journalism: On the theory and practice of the news enterprise

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)



First Committee Member

Alan Goldman - Committee Chair


The aim of this dissertation is to examine critically the nature of journalism and to address philosophical issues in the theory and practice of journalism.I present three arguments in support of the claim that a libertarian framework is preferable to other frameworks: (1) a Lockean argument, defending the conceptual connection between 'freedom of the press' and the journalist's 'right to private property' (this argument is designed to show that a libertarian model of the press is ultimately the most defensible, on ethical grounds); (2) a 'Wider Range of Truths' argument, designed to show that there is more possibility for journalists to report on a wider range of truths within a libertarian media system than in other socio-political models of the press; and (3) an Instrumental argument, designed to show that 'good journalism'---the creation of objective, veridical reports---requires that journalists be legally free to use their property (their news organizations, news gathering equipment, etc.) as they choose. (And as long as others' rights are not violated.)Ultimately, the journalist's primary responsibility is to "tell the truth": i.e., to create objective, veridical reports about events in the world. In doing so, journalists fulfill a unique and valuable function in society. (Abstract shortened by UMI.)


Journalism; Philosophy; Mass Communications

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