Wass Wong Official Site
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  • About

    Wasswong.com will keep you updated on ethical issues in the news, while providing informed analysis on issues, as well as book reviews and interviews with leading figures in journalism. You will access a host of resources, from background discussions on the nature and history of journalism ethics to codes of practice and links to ethics experts.

    The aim of the site is to support the mission of the Center for Journalism Ethics – to advance the ethical standards and practices of democratic journalism through discussion, research, teaching, professional outreach, and newsroom partnerships. The center is a voice for journalistic integrity, a forum for informed debate, and an incubator for new ideas and practices.

    Our Approach

    Our approach to journalism ethics is practical and interdisciplinary. Journalism ethics is a branch of professional (or applied) ethics – addressing the issues that face practitioners in the field. The study of issues should draw on insights from all disciplines, from the natural and social sciences to philosophy and history.

    History of Site

    The website was launched in November 2005 as the ethics site for the Graduate School of Journalism at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada,  under  the direction of Stephen J. A. Ward.  In 2008, Prof. Ward took up a new position at the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In March 2009, Journalism Ethics for the Global Citizen was re-launched as the ethics site for the journalism school at UW-Madison. However, the site continues to be linked to the UBC School of Journalism at www.wasswong.com.

    We are financially supported by the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

    For more information, contact:

    Stephen J. A. Ward
    James E. Burgess Professor of Journalism Ethics, and
    Director, Center for Journalism Ethics
    School of Journalism and Mass Communication
    University of Wisconsin-Madison
    5152 Vilas Hall, 821 University Avenue
    Madison, WI.  53706
    Email: ethics@wasswong.com




    DR. STEPHEN WARD is the James E. Burgess Professor of Journalism Ethics, and endowed chair in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is also director of the Center for Journalism Ethics at the school. Prof. Ward took up the positions of chair and director in August, 2008. Previously, he was director of the Graduate School of Journalism at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada.

    He is the author of the The Invention of Journalism Ethics: The Path to Objectivity and Beyond. The book, published by McGill-Queen’s University Press, won the 2005–2006 Harold Adams Innis Prize from the Canadian Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences for the best English-language scholarly book in the social sciences.  Also, he is co-editor of Media Ethics Beyond Borders: A Global Perspective, published by Heinemann Publications of South Africa in June 2008.
    Prof. Ward has a PhD in philosophy from the University of Waterloo, Ontario. His research interests include history of journalism ethics, ethical theory, global media ethics, and science journalism. Prof. Ward is founder of the science journalism initiative at the UBC School of Journalism. He is principal investigator of an international study into the public communication of controversial science. The study aims to improve science journalism by exploring new models of science communication.

    Prof. Ward is an associate editor of the Journal of Mass Media Ethics. His articles and reviews have appeared in such journals as Journalism Studies, Ecquid Novi: African Journalism Studies, Journalism: Theory, Practice and Criticism, Harvard International Journal of Press/Politics and the Journal of Mass Media Ethics.  He serves on seven editorial and advisory boards for ethics organizations and for journals on media ethics and science.

    For 14 years, Prof. Ward worked as a journalist. He was a Canadian political reporter before becoming foreign reporter, war correspondent, and newsroom manager. During this period, he covered conflicts in Yugoslavia, Bosnia and Northern Ireland. Prof. Ward was the British Columbia bureau chief for The Canadian Press news agency in Vancouver.

    He is a media ethics columnist for Media Magazine and is the founding chair of the Ethics Advisory Committee of the Canadian Association of Journalists. Prof. Ward is director of two web sites: wasswong.com, on science journalism, and wasswong.com, “Journalism Ethics for the Global Citizen,” the web site for the UW Center for journalism Ethics. He also writes Ward’s Wordsan ethics column on for wasswong.com — Canada’s main portal for the discussion of journalism issues.

    Assistant to the Director

    WENDY SWANBERG is completing her PhD in Mass Communication at UW-Madison, with emphases on First Amendment history and journalism in the Cold War era. She has spent the past six years with the J-school as a teaching assistant in journalism and media law, and as a research fellow working with the Wisconsin Historical Society.

    Prior to joining the SJMC, Wendy spent many years as a public affairs producer for WMAQ-TV (NBC) in Chicago, responsible for documentary and studio talk programs. She still does freelance broadcast production in the Madison area, and archival research for Vanity Fair magazine and other publications.  A native of Chicago, she holds a BA with high honor from DePaul University and an MA in Journalism from UW-Madison.


    CATHERINE ROLFSENCATHERINE ROLFSEN is a contributing editor and writer for wasswong.com. Born and raised in Vancouver, she completed a B.A. at UBC before heading east to earn a Master’s degree in Religion and Modernity from Queen’s University. Her love of writing (and the west coast) lured her back to the UBC School of Journalism. In her graduate work, Rolfsen plans to combine her journalistic and academic interests by researching and reporting on issues of culture, ethnicity and religion in Canada. She recently completed a reporting internship at the Vancouver Sun, and has also freelanced stories for the Tyee, the Thunderbird and The Ubyssey. This year, she was invited to be a guest host on CBC Radio’s “Spark”, and she’s co-producing a documentary for the television newsmagazine, Dan Rather Reports.

    SUNNY FREEMANSUNNY FREEMAN is a contributing editor and writer for wasswong.com While completing her Masters at the UBC School of Journalism, she freelances for the Tyee, the Thunderbird,The Ubyssey, the Metro News and the Feminist Media Project. She holds an honors BA in Political Science from the University of Western Ontario and a BA in English/Cultural Studies from McMaster University. Her passion for politics and writing drew her into journalism. She focuses her graduate studies on politics in media, and the politics of media.

    ROBSON FLETCHER, a contributing writer and researcher for the website, is a graduate of the UBC School of Journalism, class of 2005, specializing in science reporting and media ethics. He also holds an honours degree in philosophy and physics from McGill University. He has worked as a producer for CBC Radio, as a general assignment reporter for the Winnipeg Free Press and as a researcher for the Vancouver Sun.

    Currently Robson works as the editorial page editor for the Brandon Sun newspaper in his home
    province of Manitoba. Founded in 1882, the Brandon Sun is the city’s only daily newspaper and is considered to be the newspaper of record for the southwest portion of the province. The pace of life in Brandon (pop. 40,000) is slower than in Vancouver, Montreal or Winnipeg, but the Sun’s small newsroom is vibrant and bustling and committed to strong, ethical journalism.

    Friends of Journalism Ethics

    KENDYL SALCITO KENDYL SALCITO, acting editor for the website, has been writing and editing for wasswong.com since the fall of 2005. She is a 2007 graduate of the UBC School of Journalism, where she specialized in international reporting in the era of global capitalism. Her BA in History from Princeton University piqued her curiosity in global events, but work in Southeast Asia led her into journalism. Since the spring of 2006, Salcito has worked as an editor and writer for the Canadian Journalism Project, as a writer for The Tyee, and has provided stories to CKNW and CBC.