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Patrick Lee Plaisance

Don W. Davis Professor of Ethics, Penn State

Plaisance is the Davis Professor of Ethics in the Bellisario College of Communications at Penn State and has taught media ethics and communication theory for more than 15 years. His research focuses on media ethics theory, moral psychology theory and methods, and the value systems, ethical orientations and other factors that influence the decisions of media professionals. He is author of a textbook, 'Media Ethics: Key Principles for Responsible Practice' (SAGE, 2nd Ed., 2014), which is used nationwide, and a book featuring original research, 'Virtue in Media: The Moral Psychology of Excellence in News and Public Relations' (Routledge, 2015). He is editor of the upcoming volume, The Handbook of Communication & Media Ethics, to be published by the Berlin-based publisher DeGruyter Mouton in 2018. He serves as Editor of the Journal of Media Ethics, which is the flagship journal for peer-reviewed research in the field from around the world. He has published more than two dozen journal articles and book chapters, and his work has appeared in research journals including Communication Research, Communication Theory, the Journal of Communication, and Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly. Before coming to Penn State, he taught at Colorado State University for 15 years. He also had a career of nearly 15 years as a newspaper journalist in New Jersey, south Florida and Virginia, where he specialized in state-level political reporting.


  • –present
    Don W. Davis Professor of Ethics, Pennsylvania State University


  • 2002 
    Syracuse University, Ph.D./Mass Communications