Law and Ethics in News Media

Assignment Guidelines:
1. Identify a current, specific news media topic that you feel addresses an ethical issue.
a. This must be an example of a news media topic specifically, not entertainment.
b. It must be timely—must have relevant content in current (and reputable) media outlets within the past year.
c. Categories include but are not limited to: social/civil rights issues, candidates’ or political parties’ advocacy for or against
certain legislation, commercial business practices, advertising/public relations communications, financial institutions’
practices and/or regulations (Note: these are just category examples; you must identify a specific news topic within one of
these or another category, not just the broad category itself.)
2. Identify 5 articles or broadcasts from 5 different, reputable, media outlets—1 per outlet—that addresses your topic specifically.
a. ALL MEDIA CONTENT EXAMPLES MUST BE WITHIN THE PAST YEAR. Nothing before December 2018 is viable for this
c. Two of these articles/broadcasts must advocate for your personal ethical stance on the topic.
d. Two of these articles/broadcasts must advocate against your personal ethical stance on the topic.
e. One of these articles/broadcasts must present a neutral/un-bias presentation of the topic.
f. Your examples may be all broadcast (TV/radio), all print (hard copy/digital) or a combination, as long as they are from 5
different outlets, two of them support your position, 2 of them oppose your position, and 1 of them is neutral.
3. Using the elements of Media Literacy we have discussed at length in lecture and in your text, analyze each news media example’s
content, presentation of information, arguments and support. Compare and contrast these 5 articles/broadcasts.
a. How do they present the topic and any ethical arguments associated with it?
b. How do the presentations of the topic differ from one outlet to the next? How are they similar?
c. What motivations may each outlet have to present the topic from one ethical perspective versus another?
d. Does their presentation of the topic support or contradict your own ethical perspective on the topic? Why/why not?
e. In your opinion, are they presenting the topic in an ethical or unethical way? Some things to consider:
i. Do they appear to use language to argue their perspective, regardless of how factual the language may be?
ii. Can you identify bias or rhetoric that disguises facts or misconstrues some information?
iii. Do they attempt distract the consumer by redirecting them to another controversial or ethically-related topic?
iv. Maybe it appears as if they are withholding vital details you have seen in other articles that could sway the
consumer’s understanding of the topic.
v. Do you feel they are accurately representing the topic in a fair and balanced manner so the reader is educated on
the matter in an un-bias way?
4. Identify any laws or regulations associated with your topic specifically. Do any of the articles include these as part of their
justification for or against certain ethical arguments on the topic

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