A Reflection on Law & Ethics in News Media

This final paper is intended to be a demonstration of the cumulative knowledge gained in the course. This demonstration of knowledge is expected to include both a proper understanding and employment of various concepts and theoretical approaches learned from the various readings, as well as clear, concise, and well-organized writing.

Assignment Guidelines:

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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. Two of these articles/broadcasts must advocate for your personal ethical stance on the topic.

b. Two of these articles/broadcasts must advocate against your personal ethical stance on the topic.

c. One of these articles/broadcasts must present a neutral/un-bias presentation of the topic.

d. 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, 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?

FOR EXAMPLE (you may not use this as your own topic):

• My topic may be on tobacco brands’ advertising rhetoric and how I feel some companies/advertisers violate ethics in their ads for these brands, even though the content may not technically violate any laws or federal regulations on tobacco-specific language.

• I will conduct research to find recent news content that speaks about this issue specifically (I made up all of the below examples).

• One of my examples is a television news segment on MSNBC about how tobacco brands are appealing to new audiences.

• Another may be an article on FoxNews.com discussing changes in tobacco-based products’ sales as a result of recent ad-language restrictions.

• A BBC news podcast may have an episode on controversial ad techniques and industries that employ them the most.

• Forbes Magazine may feature an article interviewing a tobacco company’s CEO and how they are working to improve the quality of their product(s) and consumer-facing messages associated with them.

• CNN has produced a limited series on YouTube focused on federal regulation regarding advertisements in specific industries, including tobacco, and how those regulations may be negatively affecting farmers and others who earn their livings from these industries.

Submission Requirements:

In order to receive full credit on this assignment, it must include all of the below elements.

COVER SHEET:

a. Your full name

b. Your topic: This should be written in 2-3 complete sentences and include the details of your topic as well as a brief description of the ethics you feel are involved with your topic.

c. A complete works cited with links to your 5 news content examples. I should be able to read or watch each of your examples so I can see how you interpreted then compared and contrasted their content. These should be in a numbered list:

1. Full Citation + (insert link)

2. Full Citation + (insert link)

3. Full Citation + (insert link)

4. Full Citation + (insert link)

5. Full Citation + (insert link)

PAPER CONTENT (this should begin on the page after the cover sheet)

a. 1,000-1,500 words not including your cover page. This is approximately 3-4 pages, but word count is what matters the most. I will be counting your words and deducting points if you do not meet the minimum word requirement, or go over the maximum word amount.

b. Paper should be double-spaced with 1” margins all around, in 12pt Times New Roman font.

c. All sources should be cited in MLA, APA or Chicago style.

d. Structure your paper: You should have an introduction w/ thesis, supporting body paragraphs and a conclusion. Content should be streamlined and presented in a way that makes sense, supports your thesis, justifies your arguments through citation, and utilizes correct grammar and punctuation.

e. Content should be written in first person as this reflects your own ethical perspective on a specific topic and your personal interpretation of how 5 separate news media outlets have presented the topic, the ethi

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