Lisa A. Phillips

On being unfair: The ethics of the memoir-journalism hybrid

A journalist who wrote an exploration of romantic obsession using techniques of memoir and reporting reflects on the ethics of her decision not to interview or contact the man who was the object of her obsession. The analysis utilises deontology, teleology and Rawl's Veil of Ignorance, along with contemporary critiques of first-person journalism and the authority of memoir, to conclude that memoir is inherently unfair and incomplete, putting it at odds with the aims and objectives of journalism

Keywords: memoir, first-person, journalism, ethics, nonfiction


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Note on the contributor

Lisa A. Phillips is an associate professor and chair of the Department of Digital Media and Journalism at the State University of New York at New Paltz. She is the author of Unrequited: Women and romantic obsession and Public radio: Behind the voices. As a journalist with a focus on psychology-related topics, her reporting and essays have been published in The New York Times, the Washington Post, Psychology Today and other outlets. Email: