Vous êtes sur la page 1sur 9

Media Ethics MMC4203 Spring 2014 T/Th 9:30-10:45 UCB2102

Instructor: Office: Office Hours: Phone: E-mail:

Dr. Jennifer Proffitt University Center C3109 Tuesdays, 12:30-2:30 pm and by appointment 644-8748 jproffitt@fsu.edu

COURSE DESCRIPTION: A free and independent press is essential to human liberty. No people can remain sovereign without a vigorous press that reports the news, examines critical issues and encourages a robust exchange of ideas. From: In Defense of Journalism as a Public Trust, http://www.nieman.harvard.edu/reports/article/101367/In-Defense-of-Journalismas-a-Public-Trust.aspx In this course, we will analyze ethical issues in the U.S. media. We will focus on news media from the perspectives of media practitioners and as critical consumers of media. Overall, the goals of this course are to: (a) introduce you to theories that inform ethical decision-making and analytical skills involved in moral reasoning, (b) provide you with practice applying these theories and using these skills, (c) stimulate and cultivate your moral imagination and an understanding of social responsibility, and (d) help you gain deeper insight into your own ethical principles and begin to develop ethical guidelines for your future professional endeavors. COURSE MATERIALS: Required Texts: Steven R. Knowlton and Bill Reader, Moral Reasoning for Journalists, 2nd ed. (Westport, CN: Praeger, 2009). ISBN: 978-0313345500 Ron F. Smith, Ethics in Journalism, 6th ed. (Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2008). ISBN: 978-1-40515934-0 Additional Readings: Additional readings will be assigned during the semester and will either be distributed in class or available under Course Library in Blackboard. Supplemental Materials: A list of supplementary sources is included in an appendix. The MMC4203 FSU Blackboard site will be the place where you receive information about the class, class assignments, lecture materials, check your exam grades, upload papers to SafeAssign, etc. I will also send e-mail messages to the class on occasion. In order to receive my e-mail (and use the website), each student must maintain a Garnet or Page 1 of 9

Mailer account. If you prefer to use a non-Garnet account as your primary e-mail account, you can easily have mail forwarded to whatever account you would like. Information on how to forward e-mail from your Garnet account can be found at http://helpdesk.fsu.edu/FSUID-Email/JES-Webmail/JES-Email-Forwarding. E-mail is the best way to contact me. If I do not respond within 48 hours, please resend your email. COURSE OBJECTIVES: Identify, explain, synthesize, and apply the theoretical approaches to the study of media ethics; Identify, explain, synthesize, and apply course concepts to case studies in media ethics; and Further develop critical thinking and writing skills, especially as applied to the analysis of case studies.

COURSE COMPONENTS: Organization and Structure of the Course: This course relies heavily on your participation, as your insights and questions are vital for our learning and our achieving the objectives of this course. Therefore, you are expected to attend class regularly (awake, alert, and on time), keep current on reading assignments, and be prepared to discuss the issues and/or cases. This will make class-time much more productive and interesting. Grading will be based on the following: Two Exams: There will be two exams that consist of multiple choice, true/false, and short answer questions. Exams will include material from lectures, discussions, videos, handouts, and reading assignments. Each exam is worth 25% of the final grade. If you must miss the exam, proper documentation (i.e., a physicians note on the physicians letterhead indicating that you were unable to attend class on the day of the exam and signed by the physician) will be necessary to validate the excuse for missing the exam. All other cases will be handled on a situational basis. All make-up exams are exclusively essay format. Make-up exams must be taken care of within seven (7) days of the original testing date and completed during my office hours. Presentation on Assigned Case: For this assignment, you will be asked to present an analysis of one of the cases assigned in the course schedule. Presentations will be 5-8 minutes and worth 5% of the final grade. Details and evaluation criteria will be provided in an additional handout. Two Individual Case Study Analyses: This assignment asks you to provide the details of a media ethics case and an analysis of the case, making a decision that can be articulated and defended. Each case is worth 15% of the final grade. Papers are to be turned in at the beginning of class the day the assignment is due and will not be accepted by e-mail. Papers must be submitted through SafeAssign in Blackboard as well. Late papers will be accepted for half credit by 5:00 p.m. the day the assignment is due. If papers are not submitted to SafeAssign by 11:59 p.m. the day the assignment is due, you will receive a zero on the assignment. Details and evaluation criteria will be provided in an additional handout. Group Case Study Project and Presentation: In any endeavor that you choose, be it in media or another field, decisions often need to be made in a group setting. This project provides an Page 2 of 9

opportunity for you to work with your peers to analyze an ethical dilemma and to make a decision that can be articulated and defended. Groups will present projects during the last two weeks of class. Details and evaluation criteria will be provided in an additional handout. All work is to be turned in at the beginning of class the day the assignment is due, and the group paper must be submitted through SafeAssign in Blackboard as well. Late papers will be accepted for half credit by 5:00 p.m. the day the assignment is due. If papers are not submitted to SafeAssign by 11:59 p.m. the day the assignment is due, you will receive a zero on the assignment. Details and evaluation criteria will be provided in an additional handout. The group project is worth 15% of the final grade. NOTE: Writing assignments are expected to be (a) typed, double-spaced, 12-point type, and stapled, (b) written in a clear, concise, and error-free manner, (c) turned in on time, and (d) submitted to SafeAssign. Handwritten assignments will not be accepted. Although this is not a writing class, effective communication is essential for getting your point across. Problems including grammatical errors, ineffective organization of work, and unclear and/or unsupported arguments and analyses lead to reader confusion, and thus, reduction of reader understanding and your grade. Also, it is your responsibility to keep an extra (paper and/or electronic) copy of all assignments that you submit. Attendance and Participation: This course relies heavily on your participation, as your insights and questions are vital for our learning and our achieving the objectives of this course. Further, we will cover a large amount of material throughout the semester, and if you miss class, you will find it difficult to keep up and do well in the course. History also suggests that students who attend class perform much better on exams than those who do not. Moreover, recording attendance is necessary for tracking students who receive financial aid. For these reasons, attendance will be taken each class period. NOTE: Four unexcused absences will lower the final grade by one letter grade, no exceptions (e.g., an A- would become B+, a C would become C-). Additional unexcused absences will lower a final grade by one additional letter grade for every class missed (e.g., five unexcused absences, a B+ would become B-; six unexcused absences, a B+ would become C+). It is the students responsibility to sign the attendance sheet each class and to keep track of his/her absences. Excused absences are granted with prior notice and supporting documentation as outlined in the University Attendance Policy. Supporting documentation must contain the students name, reason for the absence, and date of the absence. When emergency situations warrant absence, supporting documentation is required to explain the circumstances. Routine events such as conflict between classes, internship/work hours, and family obligations do not constitute an excused absence or emergency situation. In order to excuse absences due to illness, the student must provide documentation from a doctor or medical facility. If you prefer not to see a doctor for minor illnesses, I suggest you reserve your three free unexcused absences for such an occasion. A copy of the excuse documentation must be turned in to the professor during the next class session the student attends. This copy will be retained by the professor. No excuse documents will be accepted after the last day of classes for the semester. You are expected to take an active and respectful role in class discussion. Please refrain from reading newspapers and other materials not related to class, from talking with others, from preparing to leave before class is over, from sleeping, and from any behavior that may distract from a productive and respectful learning environment for you or your classmates. Shut off all cell phones, iPods, or other electronic devices for the duration of the class. If these electronic Page 3 of 9

devices are used during class time, you will be asked to leave the classroom. Laptops may only be used with my permission and for a compelling reason. If you are found using your laptop for purposes other than note-taking, you will be asked to shut off the computer and you will no longer be able to use it in class. You are responsible for all materials distributed and/or discussed in class. University Attendance Policy: Excused absences include documented illness, deaths in the family and other documented crises, call to active military duty or jury duty, religious holy days, and official University activities. These absences will be accommodated in a way that does not arbitrarily penalize students who have a valid excuse. Consideration will also be given to students whose dependent children experience serious illness. EVALUATION: Midterm 25% Final 25% 2 Indiv. Case Studies 30% Group Project 15% Textbook Case Presentation 5%
GRADE DISTRIBUTION: Work will be graded on the following scale: B+ = 87-89% C+ = 77-79% D+ = 67-69% A = 93%+ B = 83-86% C = 73-76% D = 63-66% A- = 90-92% B- = 80-82% C- = 70-72% D- = 60-62%

Students not earning at least 60% over the course of the semester will receive a failing grade. Please note the following policies regarding grades: I will round up at .50% and round down at .49%. There will be no extra credit for this course. If you have a question about your grade, please see me during office hours or make an appointment to see me. As per university policy, I will not discuss grades over e-mail, including final grades.

COMBATING GRADE INFLATION Students should be aware that the School of Communication is committed to reducing grade inflation in its courses. To that end, a department-wide grading standard has been adopted to ensure that an A is reserved for outstanding performance. You should know that, as a School, we have agreed that grades of A and Arepresent work of superior quality, indicating a full mastery of the subject area. In other words, an A represents work of extraordinary distinction.

ACADEMIC HONOR POLICY: The Florida State University Academic Honor Policy outlines the Universitys expectations for the integrity of students academic work, the procedures for resolving alleged violations of those expectations, and the rights and responsibilities of students and faculty members throughout the process. Students are responsible for reading the Academic Honor Policy and for living up to their pledge to . . . be honest and truthful and . . . [to] strive for personal and institutional integrity at Florida State University. (Florida State University Academic Honor Policy, found at http://dof.fsu.edu/Academics/Academic-Honor-Policy.)

Page 4 of 9

Plagiarism is a serious offense. Plagiarism includes, as stated in the Academic Honor Policy, Using another's work from print, web, or other sources without acknowledging the source; quoting from a source without citation; using facts, figures, graphs, charts or information without acknowledgement of the source (6 http://academichonor.fsu.edu/policy/policy.html). This also includes not using quotation marks around direct quotes and not citing paraphrases of anothers work. If these definitions or examples are unclear, you must see me during the first week of class for further explanation. As per university policy, all infractions of the honor code will result in the following: a) your name will be given to the Office of the Dean of Faculties and b) you will receive a zero for the assignment. If the Office of the Dean of Faculties already has a record of a prior infraction, an academic honor policy hearing will be held (see http://registrar.fsu.edu/bulletin/undergrad/info/acad_regs.htm). Unless otherwise notified, all work is expected to be completed individually. Work for this class may not be submitted in other classes without instructor permission. LETTERS OF RECOMMENDATION: On occasion, students request that I write them a letter of recommendation for graduate school, law school, scholarships, or employment. Before I can agree, at a minimum you must have taken and completed at least two (2) graded courses from meone of those courses must be a senior seminarand received an A in both. Please be aware that attendance and classroom behavior factor into my decision to write a letter of recommendation. If you meet this criteria and I agree to write a letter, I will also need an updated resume and any personal statements you have been asked to submit along with my recommendation. AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT: Students with disabilities needing academic accommodation should: (1) register with and provide documentation to the Student Disability Resource Center; and (2) bring a letter to the instructor indicating the need for accommodation and what type. This should be done during the first week of class. This syllabus and other class materials are available in alternative format upon request. For more information about services available to FSU students with disabilities, contact the: Student Disability Resource Center 97 Woodward Avenue, South 108 Student Services Building Florida State University Tallahassee, FL 32306-4167 (850) 644-9566 (voice) (850) 644-8504 (TDD) sdrc@admin.fsu.edu http://www.disabilitycenter.fsu.edu/

Page 5 of 9

FREE TUTORING FROM FSU: For tutoring and writing help in any course at Florida State University, visit the Academic Center for Excellence (ACE) Tutoring Services comprehensive list of tutoring options - see http://ace.fsu.edu/tutoring or contact tutor@fsu.edu for more information. High-quality tutoring is available by appointment and on a walk-in basis. These services are offered by tutors trained to encourage the highest level of individual academic success while upholding personal academic integrity.

COURSE CONTENT AND OUTLINE Except for changes that substantially affect implementation of the evaluation (grading) statement, this syllabus is a guide for the course and is subject to change with advance notice. Jan. 7: 9: Introduction to the course What is Ethics? Chapter 1, Knowlton & Reader Chapter 1, Smith What is Ethics? Chapter 3, Knowlton & Reader Chapter 5, Smith What is Ethics? Chapter 2, Smith What is Ethics? Chapter 5, Knowlton & Reader What is Ethics? Continued Political/Economic Factors Chapters 2 & 4, Knowlton & Reader Chapter 16, Smith Political/Economic Factors Chapter 14, Knowlton & Reader Chapters 14 & 15, Smith Issues in Journalism Ethics-Objectivity Chapters 7 & 8, Knowlton & Reader Chapter 3, Smith Objectivity Continued Framing An Execution: ABC News and the Case of Mumia Abu-Jamal










Page 6 of 9


Issues in Journalism Ethics-Privacy Chapter 11, Smith Privacy IssuesPrivate Citizens and Public Figures Chapter 16, Knowlton & Reader Chapter 12, Smith Privacy Issues-Sensationalism Chapters 17 & 25, Knowlton & Reader Chapter 31, Knowlton (Course Library) Individual Case Study # 1 due Privacy Issues-Covering Tragedy Chapter 18, Knowlton & Reader Chapter 26, Knowlton (Course Library) EXAM 1 Deception and Plagiarism Shattered Glass Deception and Plagiarism Continued Chapter 6, Smith Deceit Chapters 26 & 27, Knowlton & Reader Chapter 10, Smith




25: 27:

March 4:


Spring Break March 10-14 18: 20: Group Assignment The Reporter-Source Relationship Chapters 7 & 9, Smith Individual Case Study #2 due The Reporter-Source Relationship Chapters 22, 23, & 24, Knowlton & Reader Crime Issues Chapters 13 & 28, Knowlton & Reader Watchdogs Chapter 29, Knowlton & Reader Chapter 8, Smith





Page 7 of 9



Photojournalism Chapter 21, Knowlton & Reader Chapter 33, Knowlton (Course Library) Chapter 13, Smith Social Media Reading to be announced EXAM 2 PresentationsAll Group Papers and Materials Due Presentations Presentations Presentations


10: 15: 17: 22: 24:

Page 8 of 9

Appendix Below you will find various supplemental materials regarding media ethics. This list is not exhaustive. If in your research you discover a text, article, or website that you think should be added to the list, either within the course of this class or in the future, please let me know. Additional Texts: o Philip Patterson, and Lee Wilkins, Media Ethics: Issues and Cases, 8th edition (Boston, MA: McGraw Hill, 2013). o Clifford G. Christians, Kim B. Rotzoll, Mark Fackler, Kathy B. McKee, and Robert H. Woods, Media Ethics: Cases and Moral Reasoning, 9th edition (Boston: Allyn & Bacon, 2011). o Jay Black, Ralph Barney, and Bob Steele, Doing Ethics in Journalism: A Handbook with Case Studies, 3rd edition (Boston: Allyn & Bacon, 1998). o John C. Merrill, Journalism Ethics: Philosophical Foundations for News Media (New York: St. Martins Press, 1997). o James Fallows, Breaking the News: How the Media Undermine American Democracy (New York: Vintage Books, 1997). o Jeremy Iggers, Good News, Bad News: Journalism Ethics and the Public Interest (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1999). o Bill Kovach, and Tom Rosenstiel, The Elements of Journalism: What Newspeople Should Know and the Public Should Expect, Completely Updated and Revised (New York: Three Rivers Press, 2007). o Bill Kovach, and Tom Rosenstiel, Blur: How to Know Whats True in the Age of Information Overload (New York: Bloomsbury, 2011). o Louis Alvin Day, Ethics in Media Communications: Cases and Controversies, 5th edition (Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, 2005). o Mitchell Land & Bill Hornaday (Eds.), Contemporary Media Ethics (Spokane, WA: Marquette Books, 2006). o Journal of Mass Media Ethics Websites: o American Journalism Review: www.ajr.org o American Society of Newspaper Editors: www.asne.org o Columbia Journalism Review: www.cjr.org o The Poynter Institute: www.poynter.org o The Project for Journalism Excellence: www.journalism.org o Radio Television News Directors Association: www.rtnda.org o Society of Professional Journalists: www.spj.org o PBS Newshour Media Watch: www.pbs.org/newshour/media/ o Freedom Forum: www.freedomforum.org o Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard: www.nieman.harvard.edu o Pew Center for Civic Journalism: www.pewcenter.org o Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting: www.fair.org o Center for the Study of Ethics in the Professions: http://ethics.iit.edu/codes/coe.html o American Advertising Federation: http://www.aaf.org/ o Public Relations Society of America: http://www.prsa.org/ o Public Relations Ethics: http://iml.jou.ufl.edu/projects/Spring02/Holt/ Page 9 of 9