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Markkula Center for Applied Ethics

ESG, Journalism, and Media

Journalism and Media Ethics and ESG

Journalism and Media Ethics and ESG

ESG (environmental, social and governance) principles can be used to help news media executives regulate the behavior of their news organizations -- be they companies (for-profits) or non-profits. Like their adoption elsewhere in the non-media corporate world, ESG principles can be used to identify new measures of success for news media corporations and help drive new investments to catalyze ESG in journalistic culture and newsroom management. 

The Journalism and Media Ethics advocacy and toolkits of the Markkula Center already fundamentally have the goal of keeping the social responsibility of news media organizations as the main focus. Governance aspects (ombudsmen, public editors, advertising and platform policies, etc) also come under program lenses. Environmental principles also apply to media corporations, especially large global and national organizations with big environmental footprints. If you are an executive or newsroom leader looking to advance ESG in your company or non-profit, here is a curation of ESG related articles.


Jan 17, 2022
Resources on ESG's Social Frame for Journalism and Media
Protester holding sign that reads,

The news media has historically oversimplified and stereotyped coverage of people of color in general and Asian-American communities in particular.

How solidarity news values can help improve reporting on marginalized communities

Kellyanne Conway

Should the media “cover” Kellyanne Conway’s daughter and her posts on TikTok?

Scientific Evidence Image Binkley Vincent

A three-step process and a framework of questions to make ethical reporting decisions, with recent convalescent plasma reporting as an example.

wall of words pertaining to social media and news

Both traditional journalism and social media are unwilling to reconsider their newsworthiness exemptions for politicians. This is particularly problematic in the midst of a global public health crisis because it drives unethical behavior in society.


The president’s interest in nuking hurricanes got into the news cycle last month, but one CNN reporter’s news article is an example of thoughtful work under deadline.


Ethical journalism practices require that presidential Tweets not serve as the story.

Woman speaking to the press

The news media is making progress on how to responsibly and ethically report on mass shootings.

Protests over Mueller Report

This article analyzes some of the media's early judgment of presumed guilt for the Trump campaign's alleged collusion with Russia.

Resources for ESG's Governance Frame for Journalism and Media

Facebook’s and Twitter’s post-by-post enforcement model inadequately defends against nuanced and coordinated incitement campaigns, such as those committed by Donald Trump leading up to and after the January 6th insurrection at the Capital.

Subramaniam Vincent and Courtney Davis ’21 of the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics provide comment to Facebook’s oversight board on the ethical considerations of Donald Trump’s deplatforming.

Berkley Center Georgetown University

By their very design, social media platforms have offered equal opportunity to sellers of “Big Lies,” conspiracy theories, and political disinformation.

Jack Dorsey

Despite Twitter’s, Google’s and Facebook’s varying guidelines for handling political ads, the largest platforms still require additional guardrails to protect our democracy.

Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook

With political advertising, a convened American public, where speech and counter-speech are offered in context, does not have a seat at the table.

Nick Clegg

New Facebook policy grants wide berth to politicians’ speech in newsfeed.