Communication discussion

With Discussion #8, we’re going to spend some time talking about media law and media ethics. What’s the difference between the two? Media law deals with what you legally can and can’t do, while media ethics deal with what you should or shouldn’t. Matters of law tend to be black and white (though it often takes a judge or jury to figure it out), while matters of ethics tend to live in the gray.

Law and ethics impact every segment of mass media, from advertising to entertainment. But perhaps no segment of the mass-media world wrestles with these issues more often than journalists. While news companies are certainly motivated by corporate profits, individual journalists often enter the field in hopes of serving the greater public good. But which stories, photos and information best serve that public is not always an easy decision.

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One such example is photojournalist Richard Drew’s controversial “The Falling Man” photo (链接到外部网站。) from Sept. 11. Drew discusses his thought process in this short video story from TIME (链接到外部网站。). (Warning: This video includes other images from Drew’s shoot, as well as video footage from that day. While unsettling, it’s a powerful story that helps illustrate the challenges journalists faced documenting the news – and eventual history – of that very difficult day.)

This week’s prompt: Review the story of photojournalist Richard Drew’s “falling man” picture from Sept. 11, 2001. Then assume you were a newspaper editor working on that Sept. 11. Would you have published that photo in your paper? Why or why not? What legal issues were at play? What ethical considerations?

There is no absolute right or wrong answer to running the picture or not. To do well, you should make your case and support your argument with evidence. Hint: You should also demonstrate appropriate use of the concepts and vocabulary we’ve been learning about this quarter – particularly those introduced in this week’s reading assignment, Hanson, Chap. 13-14.

Your initial post should be approximately 375 words (+/-125).

As always, you are free to do outside research to support your posts. If you do, use only legitimate sources and make sure to cite them. I’m not concerned with a specific citation style, just make sure to give credit where credit is due; don’t plagiarize! Note: Items in a bibliography do not count toward your word counts.

Initial posts are due by 11:59 p.m. Thursday. Once you post your initial post, please reply to at least two other students’ posts. Each reply should be approximately 150 words (+/-25) and should further the critical consideration of the material. Build on the conversation, introduce a new perspective or perhaps offer a counter argument. Your two replies are due by 11:59 p.m. Sunday.

A quick reminder: You can always check out the rubric for a discussion to see how the parameters above will be considered for grading.

Please note: While I sometimes check in on these discussions during the week, I often do not see all of the posts and replies until grading. If someone posts something you feel is “out of bounds,” a conversation has gotten off topic or you’d like a clarification about the facts being discussed, don’t be afraid to send me a Canvas message. I’m happy to take a look at our discussions anytime.

Reminder: No late discussions will be accepted. Once a discussion is closed, missing posts or replies cannot be made up.

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