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Ethical challenges of algorithmic journalism


Dörr, Konstantin; Hollnbuchner, Katharina (2017). Ethical challenges of algorithmic journalism. Digital Journalism, 5(4):404-419.

Abstract

With the institutionalization of algorithms as content creators, professional journalism is facing transformation and novel ethical challenges. This article focuses on the concept of Algorithmic Journalism on the basis of natural language generation and provides a framework to identify and discuss ethical issues. The analysis builds on the moral theories of deontology, utilitarianism, virtue ethics, and contractualism, and remaps the ethical discussion for Algorithmic Journalism at the intersection of digital media ethics and cyber ethics. In order to capture the whole range of potential shifts and challenges in journalism ethics, the article combines the ethical multi-layer system of responsibility by Pürer with the classification of journalism by Weischenberg, Malik, and Scholl on an organizational, professional/individual, and social/audience sphere. This analytical framework is then complemented with attributes derived from the technical potential of Algorithmic Journalism. As a result, the analysis uncovers new ethical challenges and shifts of responsibility in news production for journalism practice and journalism research at the levels of objectivity, authority, transparency, and at the level of implicit or explicit values.

Abstract

With the institutionalization of algorithms as content creators, professional journalism is facing transformation and novel ethical challenges. This article focuses on the concept of Algorithmic Journalism on the basis of natural language generation and provides a framework to identify and discuss ethical issues. The analysis builds on the moral theories of deontology, utilitarianism, virtue ethics, and contractualism, and remaps the ethical discussion for Algorithmic Journalism at the intersection of digital media ethics and cyber ethics. In order to capture the whole range of potential shifts and challenges in journalism ethics, the article combines the ethical multi-layer system of responsibility by Pürer with the classification of journalism by Weischenberg, Malik, and Scholl on an organizational, professional/individual, and social/audience sphere. This analytical framework is then complemented with attributes derived from the technical potential of Algorithmic Journalism. As a result, the analysis uncovers new ethical challenges and shifts of responsibility in news production for journalism practice and journalism research at the levels of objectivity, authority, transparency, and at the level of implicit or explicit values.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Mass Communication and Media Research
Dewey Decimal Classification:700 Arts
Uncontrolled Keywords:automated journalism, cyber ethics, digital ethics, ethics of algorithms,journalism ethics, new media ethics, robot journalism, value-sensitive design
Language:English
Date:2017
Deposited On:20 Apr 2016 19:49
Last Modified:07 Apr 2017 01:00
Publisher:Taylor & Francis
ISSN:2167-0811
Free access at:Official URL. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1080/21670811.2016.1167612
Related URLs:http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/21670811.2016.1167612

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