Electronic Theses and Dissertations





Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Journalism & Strategic Media

Committee Chair

Morgan David Arant

Committee Member

Thomas J. Hrach

Committee Member

Joseph Raymond Hayden


Critics have assailed objectivity as a guiding principle of journalists for more than half a century, dismissing its practices as defensive routines or strategic rituals. This study compares transparency, often touted as a new ethical framework for news media, and substantial completeness, a truth-telling strategy that has received less attention, to gauge whether substantial completeness could more adequately replace objectivity as journalism's core principle. A survey emailed to journalists nationwide drew 70 responses and confirmed the hypothesis that a majority of American newspaper and newspaper website journalists view substantial completeness as an ethical obligation when it is described as a reversible interaction, meaning that reporting contains all the information the journalist would want for decision-making as a reader. The survey also operationalized research questions comparing completeness and two forms of transparency as priorities and asking if time and space constraints make completeness impossible.


Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

Dissertation or thesis originally submitted to the local University of Memphis Electronic Theses & dissertation (ETD) Repository.