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Heider is the chief executive of the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics with full responsibility for vision, strategy, fundraising, and leadership. The Ethics Center is one of the most active ethics centers in the United States, with programs in business, government, journalism, engineering, internet ethics, health care ethics, social sector ethics, leadership ethics, and K-12 character education.
Formerly, Heider was the associate provost for strategy & innovation and dean of the School of Communication at Loyola University in Chicago. He also was the founder of the Center for Digital Ethics and Policy at Loyola. He served as associate dean of the Philip Merrill College of Journalism at University of Maryland, College Park, and as associate professor of journalism at University of Texas, Austin.

Heider began his career as a TV journalist and received five Emmy awards for his work. He is the author or editor of seven books including A Practical Guide to Digital Journalism Ethics and Ethics for a Digital Age, Volumes 1 and 2.

Recent Quotes
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  • “Technology could be designed to promote the common good and human well-being. This is a decision each organization must make in regard to what it produces. Whether or not to promote the common good and human well-being is also a decision each citizen must make each time they use any technology. Human designers and engineers make a series of choices about how technology will work, what behaviors will be allowed, what behaviors will not be allowed and hundreds of other basic decisions which are baked into technology and are often opaque to users. Then human users take that technology and use it in myriad ways, some helpful, some harmful, some neutral."

    31 March 2022
  • “In December, Meta opened its virtual reality social media platform, Horizon Worlds. But even before that, a beta tester revealed she had been groped by a stranger. Harassment in virtual worlds is nothing new, but it raises questions about behavior in these spaces, especially in regard to women and historically disenfranchised groups."

    31 March 2022
  • “Journalism does have an uncomfortable history of journalists and editors having cozy relationships with politicians, though not often their siblings.” Don Heider noted. “Newspaper editors for many years knew all the local politicians and power brokers, so this isn’t anything new. “

    3 June 2021