Comment, Analysis and Provocations from Edward Wasserman
Journalist and Professor

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What I write about

In my work for the news media, I am mainly interested in media rights and wrongs, journalism standards, fairness and bias, institutional pressures on ethical choice, the role of the media in civic life, alternative revenue models, and the impact of technology on society and culture.

My academic writing includes work on conflict of interest, plagiarism, source protection, secrecy, whistle-blowers, and coverage of poverty.

Professor of Journalism & Former Dean
Graduate School of Journalism
University of California, Berkeley

Bio

Writer, commentator, and media ethicist Edward Wasserman writes and speaks widely on matters related to journalistic rights and wrongs, technological change, and media ownership and control. He is a professor of journalism and former dean of the Graduate School of Journalism at the University of California, Berkeley.

Ed was named to head Berkeley Journalism in 2013 and served as dean until 2020. Previously, he held the Knight Foundation chair in journalism ethics at Washington and Lee University in Virginia, home of the country’s first undergraduate journalism program, for 10 years. There he hosted twice-yearly ethics institutes featuring leading journalists from throughout the U.S. and created a program around coverage of poverty. His academic specialties include plagiarism, source relations, whistleblowing, confidentiality, and conflict of interest. He has spoken to professional and academic groups throughout the United States and in Argentina, Brazil, Canada, China, Great Britain, India, the Netherlands, Sweden, and Qatar.

From 2001 to 2016 Ed wrote a biweekly column on the media that was distributed by the McClatchy-Tribune News Service and published in leading newspapers nationwide. He serves on the boards of the Journal of Media Ethics and the San Francisco-based First Amendment Coalition and was a member of the executive board of the Association for Practical and Professional Ethics (APPE.) Other memberships include the Organization of News Ombudsmen, the Online News Association, and the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication.

Before joining the faculty of W&L in 2003, Wasserman had a career in journalism that began in 1972. He worked for news organizations in Maryland, Wyoming, Florida, and New York. Among other positions, he was CEO and editor in chief of American Lawyer Media’s Miami-based Daily Business Review newspaper chain, winner of the Gerald Loeb award for excellence in business reporting; executive business editor of The Miami Herald; city editor of The Casper (Wyo.) Star-Tribune, and editorial director of Primedia’s 140-publication Media Central division in New York.

Wasserman received a B.A. cum laude in politics and economics from Yale, a licence in philosophy from the University of Paris I (Pantheon-Sorbonne), and a Ph.D. from the London School of Economics, where he studied media politics, technology and economics.

Published or quoted

Browse my back pages

Julian Assange and the woeful state of whistle-blowers

This column originally appeared in The New York Times, April 26, 2019 Credit…Illustration by Adam Maida; Photographs by aaaaimages and Boris Roessler/picture alliance, via Getty Images To the journalism mainstream, Julian Assange, newly imprisoned founder of WikiLeaks, is less a hero than a conundrum. True, he was midwife to some

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