Developing A Personal Moral Theory A personal moral theory is our own formal recognition of our own values, moral principles and our roles in society as a media professional The logical reason for personal moral theory starts with the views that we want an idea world, a world I might want for my grandchildren The 1st major step toward developing a personal moral theory is to decide on your ultimate goal. — your Beacon on the Hill—an icon to represent what you conclude is the best your profession have to offer to the society.
One Beacon on the Hill may be a professional committed to a world in which information flows freely, where well-informed people can make sound decision based on it. Eg. As a professional persuader, I should accept obligation to distribute information and to be professionally persuasive about subject matter which I may personally disagree. Without doing that, you have note respect audience, fearing that they have no ability to make rational decision on their own. In the ideal world of the Beacon on the Hill, communicators would respect their audiences; they should not manipulate or delete information.
In other words, they should appreciate the value of pluralistic information, to trust audience with such information, value the importance of competition in a dynamic society and to maintain reverence for truth. The professional thrust of my Beacon on the Hill may be to contribute to a well-informed society based on the premise that more information available to society and the better that society will be and the greater will be the self-determining power of individuals in that society.
The next step in building a personal moral theory is to identify and prioritize personal values Pressures on Values You may commit to distribution of information freely, what if your brother is arrest for embezzlement? For example a military general accepts the function of protecting his nation, what is his value? For communication professionals, what is the value? Values on Several Levels Prioritizing values on several levels will help calibrate a professional’s approach to the communication industry.
Ethical decisions must be made when two virtues come in conflict. Moral reasoning may come down to the question of whether we will look at consequences in our decisions, or whether we will follow our duty line, tradition or rules and not worry about the consequences. When we make a decision, however, it will most often based on a regard for relative consequences, and it is here that prioritizing values becomes important to assist in avoiding the selfish responses that often come from wanting to avoid immediate and proximate unfavorable consequences.
Example of values When a member of your close-knit church group, who is also a prominent businessman in the community, is arrested for soliciting a prostitute, your hierarchy of values springs to action if your are the newspaper editor. 1st your newspaper has a policy to publish the name of people who are arrested. 2nd you have a duty of loyalty to the church group members. 3rd the friends in your church would argue that conflict would arise if you publish the story.