An evaluation of social and technological changes that threaten that subculture -- and possibly its value system
The required texts are:
Commission on Freedom of the Press, A free and responsible press: A general report on mass communication: Newspapers, radio, motion pictures, magazines, and books ... Chicago, Ill. : University of Chicago Press, 
Philip Meyer, USA Today columns, 1998-2000 (available on web)
Supplementary: Philip Meyer, Ethical Journalism, 1987. (On reserve in Davis Library)
Other readings will be posted on
the web or placed in the 141 file in the Park Library.
For the first goal, understanding traditional values, we shall use case studies. Each of you will develop an original case study of an ethical problem in the mass media, based on your own interviewing and/or correspondence with the participants. Those who write the best cases will be asked to present them to the class. Presenters will receive a 10-point bonus on the final exam. To be eligible for presentation (only 6 will be chosen), you must submit your case with Group A or Group B.
Case study topics by graduate students will be chosen in consultation with the instructor, and some may involve travel.
JOMC 141: Spring 201
|Wednesday January 10||Overview of the course. Getting organized|
|Wednesday January 17||Covering the 2000 election. Polls and projections. What went wrong?||Chapter 10 of The New Precision Journalism|
|Three theories of the press. Professionalism. The battle for journalismís soul.||Giles
& Snyder, chapters 11, 12, 13.
Browse the Hutchins Commission report.
|Wednesday January 24||Economics
of the news business and how it affects the values of journalism.
|"Learning to love lower profits," from American Journalism Review, December, 1995.|
|Monday January 29||The moral philosophers in the Western tradition and postmodern efforts to improve on them: Aristotle to Habermas||Giles & Snyder, chapter 25.|
|Telling the public what it doesn't want to hear: Minnesota's basketball cheating scandal.||Minnesota basketball case|
|Monday February 5||Moral values as a moving target, Part 1: Politicians and sex: The Miami Herald Case||Hart case|
|Wednesday February 7||Moral values as a moving target, Part 2: Plagiarism and you||Hart case Part II|
|Monday February 12||Relationships with sources: Absence of Malice, Part I||Giles & Snyder, Chapters 2, 4|
|Wednesday February 14||Relationships with sources: Absence of Malice Part II.||Giles & Snyder, Chapter 9|
|Monday February 19||Issues of race in mass communication||Read Angela Amos, "The Country
The University of Iowa offers links to a number of resources addressing issues of race and gender in media.
|Wednesday February 21||The Times-Picayune Case||A newspaper documents its racist past|
|Monday February 26||Reporters' Methods: The Food Lion Case||Giles & Snyder, Chapter 10|
|Wednesday February 28||Reporters' Methods: Responses to the Food Lion story||Giles
& Snyder, Chapter 14
|Monday March 5||A producter's
Lynne Dale, NBC, guest speaker
|Wednesday March 7||Group
A term papers due
Trade journal reports due
Ethical problems in public relations: James
Fyock, guest speaker.
|Giles & Snyder, Chapter 20|
|Monday March 19||Midterm
|Wednesday March 21||Student
case presentations Emily Drum: The Seahawk
Ivy Peacock: GE Capital Mortgage
|Monday March 26||Social capital, reciprocity, chaos theory, and the Prisoner's Dilemma.||Meyer column: Local media battle for your loyalty.|
|Wednesday March 28||Financial and non-financial conflicts of interest. The Cokie Watch.|
influence on editorial content: Dan Smith, guest speaker
Group B term papers due
|Wednesday April 4||Disturbing images in the news: Richard Griffiths, CNN, guest speaker|
in the media: an update.
Book reports due
|Read Meyer's USAT columns of December 15, 1998 and April 22, 1999.|
|Wednesday April 11||Terrorism and the Media: Incident in the Mediterranean|
Kasey Bensinger, Michael Handy, Joseph Monaco
|Wednesday April 18||"The
Ad and the Ego"
You'll never look at an ad in the same way again.
|WCCO-TV and Northwest Airlines: proof by selected instances; Codes of ethics, news councils, and other accountability systems|
|Wednesday April 25||Accuracy
in media: the NBC burning truck case.
Privacy and media: the special case of rape
|After Silence in the Media|
Sarah Katherine Leaver, Terri Rupar
Lewis and some parting advice
Group C term papers due
|Final Exam||12 noon|
Read a biography of a journalist or a history of a news organization. I've posted a list of possibilities, but there are dozens to choose from, and you are not limited to those on the list.
Evaluate the person or the institution
according to the standards advocated by the Hutchins Commission in 1947.
Tell whether the libertarian model or the social responsibility model better
describes the behavior of the book's subject and explain why you think
Trade Journal Review
Choose one journal from the following list. Read, from cover to cover, one recent (1998-2001) issue. (All are available in the Park Library). Choose one article from that issue that most exemplifies the spirit of the Hutchins Commission report. Write an essay of 800-1,000 words that explains and justifies your choice.
Your GradeThe trade journals:
Grades are weighted as follows:
As a student at this university,
you have accepted a commitment to the Honor Code and the Campus Code, and
the principles of academic integrity, personal honesty, and responsible
citizenship on which they were founded more than 100 years ago. As a faculty
member of this university, I am responsible for its enforcement. As an
alumnus, I am emotionally committed to it. Please join me in supporting
the Honor Code by signing the Pledge on all written work and consulting
me if you are uncertain about your responsibilities within this specific
Additional Online Resources in Media Ethics