Media Ethics

Course NameMedia Ethics
Course CodeJRN190
DescriptionThe right to free speech, as guaranteed in the United States Constitution, is perhaps the best-known underpinning for a democratic nation in the world. But does that guarantee mean you can say or write anything? And if not, why not? The simple answer is that it wouldn’t be ethical, and has potential for negative consequences. Ethics are not unique to media. They’re taught in almost every profession, even in nearly every “democratic” country. But nowhere are they more important than in journalism. And at no time are they more important than now. The market economy, the pressure by those in power, business interests and digital technology all challenge media ethics. Media ethics are not limited to political news. Ethics play crucial role in advertising and public relations as well. Misleading in marketing and communication also can have terrible consequences. Digital technology and social media introduce new challenges in media, marketing and communication. Today, videos have more influence than text and, therefore, this course will address media ethics in video production as well. Pseudo-news outlets and bots spread harmful misinformation repeatedly shared on Facebook and other social media. They confuse the audience and help in creating a “post-truth” society. In such environments, the media outlets have been struggling to maintain ethics in journalism, making compromises for the sake of profit, interest or politics. The course will discuss the key ethical rules in media, advertising, and communication. We will analyze the application of ethics to real world situations in media news coverage, advertising and public relations.
Learning OutcomesUpon completion of this course students will have a clear understanding of and practical experience in:
– Understanding and using the broad ethical principals, which drive all professional media, particularly journalism in all its forms;
– There are around 400 codes of ethics in the world. Student will become familiar with Reuters, RTDNA, SPJ and BBC Codes of Ethics, which underpin most journalistic practices in the US and other democratic countries;
– Understanding importance of story telling in communication and advertising as well as journalism;
– Understanding the difference between truth, fact, and opinion – and how and when to use each in journalism, advertising and communication;
– Identifying misinformation and unethical practices, defining methodology for recognizing fake news, recognizing misuse of videos;
– Using critical thinking to recognize how social media can amplify the harmful effects of misinformation and distortion;
– Understanding how ethics may be broadly applied in public relations and business in general;
– Using critical thinking to become not just an ethical journalist but also an ethical human being.
SchoolSchool of Journalism, Media, and Visual Arts
Number of credits (US / ECTS)3 US / 6 ECTS