Instructions You will be writing case studies of ethical dilemmas. You will not

by | Nov 20, 2021 | Ethics | 0 comments

Instructions
You will be writing case studies of ethical dilemmas. You will not just write down your “thoughts” or “feelings” about the situation; you will use the ethical models and concepts we have discussed in class. These case studies are similar to what you would experience in law school or business school where you study case after case to see how the principles are applied in various ways. It may seem tedious as you start, but as you work through the process, you will get faster and the ethical reasoning will become more natural. As we learn more, you will increase the tools at your disposal to analyze different situations.
Case studies follow this format:
Student name
Comms 304 section #
Date
Case study reference, including number (textbook or another source). See the examples or template.
A brief summary of the case (try to keep it to a few sentences). Make sure you identify the ethical issue you are analyzing. There are lots of possible ethical issues in each case, so you need to explain which one you are examining. Your analysis of that ethical issue using ethical models and moral reasoning.
Your conclusion. Is it ethical or not?
The case studies will be graded on your application of ethical principles—not if you got the answer “right” or “wrong”—and the quality of writing. You must use an ethical model, a moral theory, and/or cite at least one philosopher in your reasoning in order to get credit for your case study. If two students turned in equally well-written, ethically-reasoned cases, but came to opposite or different conclusions, they would each get the same grade.
Case studies are short—about a page or two. If you want to write more, you can. The important thing is to apply the ethical principles. Take the space you need to do that. Sometimes you will be told which model to use; other times you can choose and include reasoning from your personal ethical statement.
Here are some examples of case studies for you to view:
Case Study example 1 Download Case Study example 1
Case Study example 2 Download Case Study example 2
Case Study example 3 Download Case Study example 3
Here is a template Download templatefor case studies, if you want to use it.
You can revise and resubmit this assignment as many times as you would like to improve your grade. See the syllabus for more information.
Case Study 1 specific instructions
Choose one case from Chapter 2: Information Ethics in the textbook and analyze it using one of the ethical models we have studied. Make sure you list the case study reference (2-A, 2-B, 2-C, 2-D, 2-E, 2-F, 2-G or 2-H). For this case, you can use whichever model you would like.
THE CASE CASE 2-C
NEWS AND THE TRANSPARENCY STANDARD
LEE WILKINS
Wayne State University
University of Missouri
By many measures, 2010 and 2011 were very bad years for the CPB and its radio arm, National Public Radio (NPR). CPB found itself under attack by members of the Tea Party and some other Republicans for what they viewed as a “liberal” media agenda. Congress threatened to cut CBP’s $320 million funding, a move that would have placed the financial future of about 50 percent of public radio and public television stations (most of those in smaller markets) in fiscal jeopardy. At the same time, the great recession that began in 2008 also took a financial toll; audience fundraising activity—and corporate support—weakened.
Finances were not the only problem. These years included a series of significant controversies, beginning with the firing of NPR’s Juan Williams for comments he made about Muslims that were broadcast on Fox News, where he also was a commentator. Ultimately, NPR’s top news manager, Ellen Weiss, was forced to resign over the incident. Just weeks later, NPR’s top executive, Vivian Schiller, who had come to public radio after working at the New York Times, was forced to resign after an audio tape of one of the organization’s top fundraisers, Ron Schiller (no relation), surfaced on the internet. In that audio tape, Ron Schiller called some congressional Republicans and particularly members of the Tea Party racist, unchristian, and anti-intellectual. Schiller also said he believed that NPR and the CPB would, over the long run, be better off 49without congressional funding support. Both Vivian Schiller and Ron Schiller were forced out.
All this came in the midst of professional successes, including a listening audience for NPR of more than 27 million people—much above those watching television network and cable news—and reporting that won every professional prize.
CPB had last changed its editorial and organizational standards in 2005 but, beginning in 2009, launched a multi-year project to update those standards and to apply them to all aspects of CPB efforts—from program selection to fundraising to news. The intent was a single set of standards that would inform best practices throughout the corporation. Executives hoped these consistent standards would strengthen ties with audience members and funders, including Congress. Those new standards were adopted in June 2011 and may be accessed at: http://www.pbs.org/about/editorial-standards/. In many ways, these standards were similar to those that had informed the organization since its inception.
Those new standards included standards for the news organization that audiences know as NPR. The standards were based on a normative framework for NPR’s journalism and included an acknowledgement of the following principles: fairness, accuracy, balance, responsiveness to the public (accountability), courage and controversy, substance over technique, experiment and innovation, and exploration of significant subjects, as well as subsections on what would be considered unprofessional conduct, unacceptable production methods, and NPR’s use of social media, particularly as a source for news stories. Third on the normative list was the standard of objectivity, which those who developed the updated standards linked to transparency in this way:
Beyond that, for a work to be considered objective, it should reach a certain level of transparency. In a broad sense, this spirit of transparency means the audience should be able to understand the basics of how the producers put the material together. For example, the audience generally should be able to know not only who the sources of information are, but also why they were chosen and what their potential biases might be. As another example, if producers face particularly difficult editorial decisions that they know will be controversial, they should consider explaining why choices were made so the public can understand. Producers should similarly consider explaining to the audience why certain questions could not be answered, including why, if confidential sources are relied on, the producers agreed to allow the source to remain anonymous. And the spirit of transparency suggests that if the producers have arrived at certain conclusions or a point of view, the audience should be able to see the evidence so it can understand how that point of view was arrived at. One 50aspiration implicit in the idea of transparency is that an audience might appreciate and learn from content with which it also might disagree.
Opinion and commentary are different from news and analysis. When a program, segment, digital material or other content is devoted to opinion or commentary, the principle of transparency requires that it be clearly labeled as such. Any content segment that presents only like-minded views without offering contrasting viewpoints should be considered opinion and should identify who is responsible for the views being presented.
No content distributed by PBS should permit conscious manipulation of selected facts in order to propagandize.
Individual media outlets—both television and radio—may decide whether to adopt these voluntary standards.
Micro Issues
1. Are there certain sorts of agreements between journalists and their sources that would be jeopardized by the transparency standard?
2. Are there certain sorts of activities journalists do—for example, deciding which stories to cover—that might benefit from a “transparency” standard?
3. Does being transparent about process add unproductively to a journalists’ workload?
4. Is transparency best considered a component part of objectivity?
Midrange Issues
1. Take a news story from any media source and evaluate how well it meets the CPB normative guidelines.
2. What values on the CPB list do you find internally consistent? Contradictory? Could you adopt these standards as part of your best practices?
3. Do you think labeling something news or opinion matters to most audience members? What about entertainment programming such as The Daily Show?
Macro Issues
1. Should the US taxpayer fund media organizations such as the CPB?
2. What definition of truth do you believe CPB is applying to news content—at least as reflected in its professional standards?

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