JOUR 4301 Media Ethics
About the Course
This course is designed as an introduction to the general field of media ethics, with a more specific focus on journalism ethics. In it, we will examine some key issues confronting journalists and their audiences as well as those of advertisers, marketers, those in the entertainment media and public relations practitioners. As our media culture becomes increasingly pervasive and complex, it is critical that we understand how to conduct ethical deliberations and move beyond mere “gut reactions,” status quo defenses and simple claims of conscience. Those who come seeking a book of rules to guide their conduct as media workers will be disappointed here. This is a class that will deal largely with questions – clear-cut answers will be scarce.
The primary goal of this course is to help prepare you to grapple with the ethical dilemmas you will inevitably confront in your professional careers and private lives. There are other goals:
- To develop a deeper understanding of the news media and of the many forces – political, social, economic and technological – that affect the way the media operate.
- To develop a basic grasp of the principles and concepts used by key philosophers.
- To develop a rational, systematic way of analyzing ethical problems.
- To develop the ability to reason one’s way to an ethically defensible course of action.
- To become aware of how the media alter and influence perceptions of the world.
Final grades will be determined on the following scale:
Response papers 30%
Annotated bibliography 5%
Term project 40%
Class participation/discussions 15%
Media Ethics: Issues and Cases, 7th Edition, by Philip Patterson and Lee C. Wilkins (2011)