For Writers


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Resources: Ethical Considerations for Writers

These resources are intended to offer writers some insight into the myriad of ways writers, readers, subjects and the public view the ethical issues of writing.


1.Bansal, Vritti. “Working for Binge,” Medium (June 1, 2017)

2.Coulehan, Jack. “Ethics, Memoir, and Medicine,” AMA Journal of Ethics (July 2011),

3.Davret, Barry. “How To Create Your Writer’s Code of Ethics And Why You Should,” Medium(February 20, 2019),

4.Helentjaris, Diane. “Picture Perfect: 10 Sites for Writers to Score Free Images,” Make a Living, Writing,

5.Kennedy, Ed. “Ghostwriter Ethics: A Quiet Word on Quiet Work for New Writers,” Medium(January 5, 2017),

6.Newman, Ed. “Is it OK for artists and writers to use assistants?” Medium(January 21, 2019),

7.Wolfe, April. “A Proposal for a New Code of Journalistic Ethics,” Medium(November 11, 2015),


1.Booth, Wayne C. The Company We Keep: an Ethics of Fiction. University of California Press, Reprint 1989.

2.Eakin, Paul John. The Ethics of Life Writing. Cornell University Press, 2004.

3.Israel, Lee. Can You Ever Forgive Me?: Memoirs of a Literary Forger. Simon and Shuster; Media Tie-in Edition, 2008.

4.Peck, Lee Anne and Reel, Guy S. Media Ethics at Work: True Stories from Young Professionals. CQ Press, Second Edition, 2016.

5.Plaisance, Patrick Lee. Media Ethics: Key Principles for Responsible Practice. Sage Publications, Second Edition, 2013.

6.Surma, A. Public and Professional Writing: Ethics, Imagination and Rhetoric. Palgrave Macmillan, 2005.

7.van de Pol, Caroline. Back to Broady. Ventura Press, 2017.

8.van de Pol, Caroline, Truth in memoir, thesis, Faculty of Creative Arts, University of   Wollongong, 2013. (Van de Pol’s doctoral thesis addresses some of the issues of memoir and is available for download. Her memoir describes her “harrowing” life growing up poor in Australia.)

Educational Modules and Publications:

1.“Best Practice Guidelines on Publishing Ethics, A Publisher’s Perspective,” Second Edition, 2014, John Wiley and Sons, Ltd  

(Includes a robust list of resources for writers.)

2.“Avoiding Plagiarism, Self-plagiarism, and Other Questionable Writing Practices: A Guide to Ethical Writing,” Online module offered by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, The Office of Research Integrity. Revised in 2015.                

(This appears targeted to the scientific community but it includes helpful information for all writers.)


1.Can You Ever Forgive Me(2018) starring Melissa McCarthy.   (This comedic drama, based on Lee Israel’s book Can You Ever Forgive Me?: Memoirs of a Literary Forger, was well received. Academy Award nominations – Best Actress: Melissa McCarthy, Best Supporting Actor: Richard E. Grant)

2.The Wife(2017) starring Glenn Close, Jonathan Pryce and Christian Slater. (This drama also was well received. Glenn Close won a Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild, and Critics Choice Movie Award. She was nominated for an Academy Award as Best Actress and a  BAFTA for Best Actress as well.)