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Communication & Media

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Good's book examines the portrayal of journalists in films


NEW PALTZ -- Journalism professor Howard Good's seventh book, which examines how journalists are portrayed in the movies, will be published this month by Praeger Publishers. It is entitled "Media Ethics Goes to the Movies" and is intended to be used as a text for classes in media ethics.

Good has taught journalism at the State University of New York at New Paltz for the past 18 years, and for 15 of those years he has taught the Journalism Program's classes on ethics.

By looking at various movies that focus on journalists, Good's book provides students a chance to grapple with thorny ethical issues.

"Movies present a dynamic narrative illustration of abstract ethical issues," explained Good. The book, which grew out of his teaching ethics classes and took about two years to complete, focuses on such movies as "All the President's Men," "Ace In the Hole," "Network" and "Twelve Angry Men," all famous movies that revolve around journalists.

These movies summarize the ethical situations that the reporters often face - from sensationalism and truth, to corporate control and social responsibility.

The book is co-written by Michael J. Dillon, professor of communication at Duquesne University, who also taught at SUNY New Paltz. Good is a former newspaper editor and Dillon was an award-winning reporter.

"Media Ethics Goes to the Movies" is the first book Good has written intended for the classroom. Good believes that students can identify with movies and he hopes that in the future a class will be developed to discuss the issues in the book. Good explored the concept of journalists in film before in his 1989 book "Outcasts: The Image of Journalists in Contemporary Film," published by Scarecrow Press.

Some of Good's other works include "Diamonds in the Dark: America, Baseball, and the Movies" (1997) and "Girl Reporter: Gender, Journalism, and the Movies" (1998).

Good is currently working on a book tentatively entitled Desperately Seeking Ethics that will continue to explore how ethics can be brought into the classroom. He also teaches literary journalism and feature writing.

Good has a bachelor's degree from Bard College, a master's from the University of Iowa, and a Ph.D. from the University of Michigan. He is the president of the Highland Central School District Board of Education and lives in Highland with his wife, Barbara, and their four children.