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UBC Journalism Prof Stephen Ward Snags Best Book Prize for Work on Media Ethics

November 24, 2006

Source: University of British Columbia

A probing look at journalism and ethics has garnered University of British Columbia Assoc. Prof. Stephen Ward this year’s award for best English-language book in the social sciences from the Canadian Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences.

At a ceremony in Ottawa tomorrow, Ward will receive the Harold Adams Innis Prize for The Invention of Journalism Ethics: The Path to Objectivity and Beyond, published in 2005 by McGill-Queen’s University Press.

"I’m very honoured to be recognized with this prestigious award, especially since it is associated with the great communication theorist Harold Innis," says Ward, a veteran journalist who’s the Acting Director at the UBC School of Journalism and an Associate Professor of journalism ethics.

"In today’s rapid-fire news world, it’s critical that the media provides interpretation, analysis, and perspective," says Ward. "It is also essential that we deepen our understanding of journalism through philosophical and historical analysis."

Ward’s book offers an innovative model for journalists and the public to identify and avoid biased and unbalanced reporting. By providing an in-depth historical analysis, he argues that journalistic objectivity is not a set of absolute standards. Instead, reporters can use a reasonable and practical objectivity that other professions and public institutions rely on for making tough, ethical decisions.

Ward teaches courses on media ethics and the law, critical thinking in journalism and the media and society. His expertise is in journalism ethics, including the history of journalism ethics, news objectivity and global journalism ethics.

In 2005, Ward launched Canada’s first comprehensive web site devoted to the study and promotion of journalism ethics from a global perspective. He’s an internationally recognized expert in journalism ethics, giving invited lectures and holding workshops in many countries.

Ward is also the principal investigator of a four-year project to develop new models of communicating controversial science such as gene therapy research. With major funding from Genome Canada, the project aims to improve how science is reported while establishing a science journalism program at the UBC School of Journalism.

Ward has 15 years of journalism experience as foreign correspondent, editor and newsroom manager. Between 1995 and 1998, he worked as The Canadian Press (CP) Bureau Chief in Vancouver and was CP’s only staff reporter in Europe from 1990 to 1994. Based in London, he covered major events such as the Gulf War, the Bosnian conflict, and the troubles in Northern Ireland. He holds a PhD in Philosophy from the University of Waterloo and was a research fellow at the Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard University prior to joining UBC.

The Federation represents 68 scholarly associations, 71 universities and colleges, and more than 50,000 researchers, practitioners and graduate students. Each year, it awards prizes to four authors in each field of social sciences and humanities: one for best work in French and one for best work in English.

Along with Ward, the social sciences award winner is Denyse Baillargeon at the Université de Montréal for her French-language book, Un Québec en mal d'enfants. La médicalisation de la maternité, 1910-1970 (Les éditions du remue-ménage).

For the humanities category, the best English-language book prize went to James Flath, University of Western Ontario, for The Cult of Happiness: Nianhua, Art, and History in Rural North China (University of British Columbia Press), while Éric Méchoulan, Université de Montréal, won the French-language book prize for Le livre avalé. De la littérature entre mémoire et culture (Presses de l'Université de Montréal).
More Information




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    Assoc. Prof. Stephen Ward
    UBC School of Journalism
    Tel: 604.822.6682
    Cell: 604.837.0524

    Lorraine Chan
    UBC Public Affairs
    Tel: 604.822.3213
    Cell: 604.828.3867

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