Michael Bugeja

Michael Bugeja

Michael Bugeja is the author of "Living Media Ethics" (Routledge/Taylor & Francis) and "Interpersonal Divide in the Age of the Machine" (Oxford Univ. Press). He is a regular contributor to Iowa Capital Dispatch and is writing a series of columns on the topic of "Living Ethics." Views expressed here are his own.


Women and gender equity: How we can learn from the past and improve in the future

By: - September 24, 2023

Today we focus on Colonial figures cited as America’s first feminists: “Silence Dogood” (aka Benjamin Franklin) and Abigail Adams, first lady to second President John Adams and mother to sixth President John Quincy Adams. Their observations were prescient. At 16, Benjamin wanted to write for his older brother’s newspaper, the New England Courant, but James […]


What teachers can do about Gen Z’s knowledge gap

By: - August 21, 2023

Gen Z students possess high ideals and big ambitions but often lack knowledge of personal finance, history and civics that impact the very issues about which they care so passionately. Many of that generation (born 1997-2012) have been disenfranchised by sectarian politics and pedagogical ineptitude (not to mention the Covid pandemic, Great Recession, social media […]


Underperforming political journalism and pitfalls of conventional wisdom

By: - July 16, 2023

Writers covering election politics these days generally do not disclose anything relevant about issues and top candidates. Mostly, they read online speeches and social media posts, view broadcast and YouTube segments, report poll predictions, scan databases and launch wave after wave of commentary. We are drowning in a tsunami of political opinion. There are a […]


Instead of just banning TikTok, policymakers should explore Gen Z’s online behaviors

By: - June 4, 2023

Policymakers concerned about TikTok and other popular platforms should explore Gen Z’s intense relationship with them, increasing awareness about risks and enhancing digital literacy in the process. “Young People and Information: A Manifesto,” a handbook edited by Alex Grech, director of the 3CL Foundation and a senior lecturer at the University of Malta, informs digital […]


Gen Z and the thirst for justice

By: - May 14, 2023

Several of my media ethics students have used a religious phrase in a secular manner, apparently uncertain of its source: “a thirst for justice.” It appears in the Gospel of Matthew (5:3-10), commonly known as the Beatitudes, a series of blessings by Jesus of Nazareth during his Sermon on the Mount, a hill overlooking the […]


Social influencer ethics and the implications of a TikTok ban

By: - April 15, 2023

President Joe Biden signed a congressional bill late last year banning TikTok on federal government devices, and now more than half of the states, including Iowa, have followed suit. There also is talk in Washington about banning the app altogether because it is owned by a Chinese company, ByteDance, with officials fearing user data being […]


Chatbots and plagiarism: Will we ‘get over it’?

By: - February 16, 2023

In 1999, Scott McNealy, CEO of Sun Microsystems, told reporters and technology analysts concerned about internet algorithms that people have “zero privacy anyway. Get over it!” The comment shocked people. With the emergence of ChatGPT (Generative Pre-trained Transformer) — a free online application that dialogues with users — teachers are in “near panic” with concerns […]


The sanctity of the word: Are we giving words enough respect?

By: - February 5, 2023

One of the most memorable biblical lines makes a pronouncement, a promise and a pact: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1). The term reverberates in everyday sayings, such as: “Mark my word.” “I give you my word.” “You have my word.” “She […]


Media companies must do more to prevent abuse of women journalists

By: - January 4, 2023

Journalists are routinely vilified on social media and on the beat, with women enduring the brunt of abuse. There were 25 organized troll campaigns targeting women reporters in the first half of 2020, according to Ms. Magazine. Additionally, the magazine cited 267 attacks and threats, with many mentioning women’s appearance and sexuality, including death and […]


The optics of American hate

By: - November 1, 2022

The road to hell isn’t paved anymore with good intentions. The asphalt is hatred. Chances are you have experienced it recently. A person may have confronted you because of race or ethnicity. One study shows that 22% of Americans have encountered that or had their property damaged because of their skin color or culture. You […]


The remedy for conflicts of interest is transparency

By: - September 6, 2022

We often hear the phrase “conflict of interest” pertaining to government officials violating their oath to serve the public interest. According to the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics, the most common conflicts involve officeholders voting on land use matters that impact their own holdings. “Other examples include voting to grant a benefit to a company […]


It’s our job — and yours — to protect the public interest

By: - August 1, 2022

Journalists, politicians and educators have a duty to inform, instruct and serve the people — not themselves or special interests. The public interest concerns the general welfare of society meriting recognition and protection. Journalists inform the public so that people are aware of anything that threatens their welfare. Educators enlighten citizens so that they can […]