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CA 302 Communication Ethics and Law
Lofflin, John


Mission Statement: The mission of Park University, an entrepreneurial institution of learning, is to provide access to academic excellence, which will prepare learners to think critically, communicate effectively and engage in lifelong learning while serving a global community.

Vision Statement: Park University will be a renowned international leader in providing innovative educational opportunities for learners within the global society.

Course

CA 302 Communication Ethics and Law

Semester

SP 2009 HO

Faculty

Lofflin, John

Title

Professor of journalism

Office Location

Copley 1 South

Office Hours

Posted

E-Mail

john.lofflin@park.edu

Semester Dates

Spring 2009

Class Days

-M---F-

Class Time

1:50 - 3:05 PM

Credit Hours

3


Textbook:

“Lying: Moral Choice in Public and Private Life” Bok

“Media Ethics: Issues and Cases” Patterson/Wilkins

Additional Resources:
Readings provided by instructor

McAfee Memorial Library - Online information, links, electronic databases and the Online catalog. Contact the library for further assistance via email or at 800-270-4347.
Career Counseling - The Career Development Center (CDC) provides services for all stages of career development.  The mission of the CDC is to provide the career planning tools to ensure a lifetime of career success.
Park Helpdesk - If you have forgotten your OPEN ID or Password, or need assistance with your PirateMail account, please email helpdesk@park.edu or call 800-927-3024
Resources for Current Students - A great place to look for all kinds of information http://www.park.edu/Current/.


Course Description:
CA302 Communication Ethics and Law: A study of the law and ethics for journalists and other communicators. The course will analyze libel law, privacy, objectivity, responsibility, freedom of speech and censorship, and the role of the press in society. 3:0:3

Educational Philosophy:

Engagement with the ideas of the course is the essential prerequisite for higher level learning. The teacher serves as a guide to the construction of meaning, the development of skills and dispositions, the recognition of what constitutes excellence, and the consideration of ethical issues. Reading and writing are essential tools to achieve depth of understanding and criticism.

Learning Outcomes:
  Core Learning Outcomes

  1. begin the process of developing a framework for making ethical decisions in the field of communication
  2. engage in the discussion of ethical issues in a peaceful, thoughtful atmosphere and, thus, be better prepared to make ethical decisions as a communications professional in a crisis
  3. participate in ethical dialogue illustrating the dynamic nature of philosophical practice
  4. develop a working understanding of the basic principles of communication law


Core Assessment:


Goals of the core curriculum in communication arts journalism: 



“Ethical thinking:



     In the core curriculum successful students consider at least these elements of the profession:



·        Consider the role of the communication professional in the community and what role they will personally play in the community as professionals



·        Consider the role of communication in the cultural conversation of the community



·        Consider their professional values and their personal values with an eye toward whether these values are in harmony



·        Consider their own purpose as professional communicators



·        Consider the specific role the journalist plays in society; duties and power begin the process of developing a framework for making ethical decisions in the field of communication” 



CA 302 Communication Ethics and Law -- Course Objectives: 



Engage in the discussion of ethical issues in a peaceful, thoughtful atmosphere and, thus, be better prepared to make ethical decisions as a communications professional in a crisis  



Participate in ethical dialogue illustrating the dynamic nature of philosophical practice  



Develop a working understanding of the basic principles of communication law  



Core Competency  



“Final paper -- Four-page reaction paper.  Topic to be announced.  Will examine ethical problem-solving techniques.” 



Here is the final paper from Spring 2006 with the working rubric: 



Final reaction paper



Communication Ethics and Law CA 302



Spring 2006 / Mr. Lofflin



Directions: Write a succinct four-page paper in which you apply all the philosophers and philosophies we have studied this semester to evaluate and clarify the story written by Roberta Clemente about the high school teacher from and ethical point of view rather than a legal point of view. (100 points) Due at the final. 



1.        Begin by briefly discussing the ethical conflicts that make this story a problem for the reporter.



2.       To introduce the issue of lying, let's say Roberta Clemente obtained her interview with the principal by telling him she was working on a positive story about Leslie Gore's accomplishments as a teacher. Your reaction should be based on Professor Bok's decision-making strategy? Does Kant have anything to say about this question? What about Aristotle?



3.        Issues of public vs. private persons are part of this scenario. Adapt Professor Bok and use John Rawls to draw the line here on whether you think the reporter ought to investigate this teacher's past and publish the results.



4.        How does this story raise issues of loyalty? Use Royce and Potter to thoroughly evaluate loyalties.



5.        Your key question should be whether or not to write the story this way and your answer should constitute most of the paper. Be specific about this: Your opinions are important and respected, but the real question here is your ability to manipulate the material from class to clarify an ethical question. In other words, which ideas we've studied this semester would persuade you in this particular case?  



Hint: One way to answer question five is to write about each philosopher one at a time clearly labeling each paragraph with the philosopher's name and clearly stating his or her ideas, then telling how you think they apply to the question of whether or not to write the story and, or, whether to write the story the way it is written. Include at least these philosophers and/or ideas: Bok, Aristotle, Kant, Potter, Royce, Rawls, Utilitarianism



If one philosopher or philosophy doesn't apply to this case, specifically tell why.






Criteria for evaluation of your paper:



·         Understanding (accuracy) of description of philosophies and concepts 



·         Application of each philosophy to this specific case 



·         Discussion of lying to get this story 



·         Discussion of the tension between public vs. private people in this case 



·         Discussion of loyalty in  this case 



·         Support from the material we have studied for your positions on the case; quality of citations 



·         General depth of your answer (Is your answer comprehensive? Does it show understanding? Does a theme emerge in your answer?)  



·         How many philosophers did you use successfully? 



·         Clarity of writing 



Be aware I will not be evaluating your answer based on whether I think your decision is right or wrong. The evaluation will be based on how you use the materials to reach an answer. 



Core Competency: 



The core competency for CA 302: Communication Ethics and Law will be a four-page reaction paper. The paper will follow a mock libel trial the final week of class. Students will be assigned roles in the trial (example attached), including a reporter, an editor, two attorneys, a libeled party and a jury. The heart of the trial will be a news article; the article will test these issues: 



·         Defamation


·         Privacy


·         Public vs. private citizens


·         Good journalistic practice


·         Truth


·         Fair comment


·         Privilege


·         Lying to obtain information


·         Objectivity


·         Loyalty


·         The role of the communicator in society 



A separate in-class examination will evaluate the libel issues. The core competency will take the issues raised in the mock trial and ask students to analyze the story used in the mock trial from an ethical perspective, not a legal perspective. The reaction paper will ask students to utilize each philosopher or philosophy examined in the course to analyze the story. Example questions: Would you write this story? Would you write this story this way? How would these philosophers or philosophies urge you to change this story or the method you used to get this story to make it more ethical? 



The goal is to put the student in a position to internalize the assignment, imagining herself in the writer's shoes, guided by the philosophical principles examined across the entire course. 



Core Competency (syllabus description): 



“The core competency will be a four-page reaction paper analyzing the story used in the mock libel trial from an ethical perspective, not a legal perspective. Students will utilize each philosopher or philosophy examined in the course to analyze the story. Example approaches: Would you write this story? Would you write this story this way? How would these philosophers or philosophies urge you to change this story or the method you used to get this story to make it more ethical? 



“The goal of the core competency reaction paper is for the student to internalize the assignment, imagining herself in the writer's shoes, guided by the philosophical principles examined across the entire course.”

Link to Class Rubric

Class Assessment:

  1. We will form seven groups. Each group will prepare a Friday Dialogue concerning a topic from week six through Week 13. Each student in the group will receive an individual grade for a dialogue report; the report will be due the Friday following the presentation, weeks 7 through 14. Criteria for the report will be provided. Two groups will provide players for the mock libel trial. The Friday Dialogue report will be worth 100 points.
  2. Bok question paper -- A three-page reaction paper using ideas established in reading and discussion of “Lying” will be due after about four weeks or the conclusion of Bok Chapter VII. Topics will be announced. The Bok paper will be worth 100 pointes.
  3. Libel exam – An in class short answer examination over readings on the subject and the mock libel trial will be worth 100 points. The exam will occur during the final week of the semester.
  4. In an effort to promote reading of the material, 10 homework assignment reports will be due on Mondays across the semester.  The reports will respond to three broad questions: 1) What was the central question of the reading? You will answer this by simply stating the question. 2) What portion of the reading resonated with you? 3) Create a communication dilemma / scenario utilizing the question central to the reading. Each homework report will be worth 10 points. Due Monday, reports filed the following Friday will be docked two points. No reports will be accepted later than the following Friday; absence will not be an excuse.
  5. Final paper – A three-page reaction paper will be due at the final. The topic and criteria for evaluation will be announced. The paper will examine your ethical problem-solving strategies and will pull together all the material from the semester. The final paper will be worth 100 points.

Grading:

Each paper and project will be weighted equally. Five hundred points will be available and the grading scale will be the traditional 100%-90% A; 89%-80% B; 79%-70% C; 69%-60% D.

Late Submission of Course Materials:
In an effort to simplify the grading process, I will not accept papers pinned to my door, slid under my door, handed to me in the hallway, left in my mailbox or sent via e-mail. To secure a grade for your paper, you must hand it in on time during class except in extraordinary circumstances. Athletic trips, weddings, vacations, car trouble, or printer problems will not be considered extraordinary.

Classroom Rules of Conduct:
Civility will be required.

Course Topic/Dates/Assignments:

The agenda for the course and the dates of papers and projects will be detailed on the working syllabus and will be subject to change in response to student progress during the semester.

Week 1 -- Introduction -- personal ethics

Week 2 -- Bok: Introduction, Ch. 1

Week 3 -- Bok: Ch. II, III, IV

Week 4 -- Bok: Ch. V, VI, VII

 

For the Friday Dialogue sessions we will follow this scheme:

Monday – Discussion of the material; Friday -- Questions and more questions: group dialogue presentations. The following schedule will be synchronized with the material in Patterson, respond to events in the world and be sensitive to student interest, so the order may well change across the semester.

 

Week 5 -- Guiding principles: Aristotle, Rawls, Royce, Bok, Potter, et al

Week 6 -- To publish or not to publish – does balanced equal fair?

Week 7 -- Privacy vs. the public right to know

Week 8 -- Photography and video: flashpoints in communication ethics

Week 9 -- Brotherly love – Loyalty

Week 10 -- Persuasion – Let the buyer beware?

Week 11 -- Setting the agenda – the role of communicators in the community

Week 12 -- Entertainment ethics – is bad art ethical?

Week 13 -- Libel, readings

Week 14 -- Libel, readings, *libel exam in class

Week 15 -- *Final paper, presented at final exam

Academic Honesty:
Academic integrity is the foundation of the academic community. Because each student has the primary responsibility for being academically honest, students are advised to read and understand all sections of this policy relating to standards of conduct and academic life.   Park University 2008-2009 Undergraduate Catalog Page 87

Plagiarism:
Plagiarism involves the use of quotations without quotation marks, the use of quotations without indication of the source, the use of another's idea without acknowledging the source, the submission of a paper, laboratory report, project, or class assignment (any portion of such) prepared by another person, or incorrect paraphrasing. Park University 2008-2009 Undergraduate Catalog Page 87

Attendance Policy:
Instructors are required to maintain attendance records and to report absences via the online attendance reporting system.

  1. The instructor may excuse absences for valid reasons, but missed work must be made up within the semester/term of enrollment.
  2. Work missed through unexcused absences must also be made up within the semester/term of enrollment, but unexcused absences may carry further penalties.
  3. In the event of two consecutive weeks of unexcused absences in a semester/term of enrollment, the student will be administratively withdrawn, resulting in a grade of "F".
  4. A "Contract for Incomplete" will not be issued to a student who has unexcused or excessive absences recorded for a course.
  5. Students receiving Military Tuition Assistance or Veterans Administration educational benefits must not exceed three unexcused absences in the semester/term of enrollment. Excessive absences will be reported to the appropriate agency and may result in a monetary penalty to the student.
  6. Report of a "F" grade (attendance or academic) resulting from excessive absence for those students who are receiving financial assistance from agencies not mentioned in item 5 above will be reported to the appropriate agency.

Park University 2008-2009 Undergraduate Catalog Page 89-90

Disability Guidelines:
Park University is committed to meeting the needs of all students that meet the criteria for special assistance. These guidelines are designed to supply directions to students concerning the information necessary to accomplish this goal. It is Park University's policy to comply fully with federal and state law, including Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, regarding students with disabilities. In the case of any inconsistency between these guidelines and federal and/or state law, the provisions of the law will apply. Additional information concerning Park University's policies and procedures related to disability can be found on the Park University web page: http://www.park.edu/disability .

Additional Information:





THE MISSION
OF THE DEPARTMENT OF COMMUNICATION ARTS / JOURNALISM


The communication
arts graduate in journalism is a thinking


journalist capable of
adapting to change and creating change in the profession,


open-minded,
committed to truth and the empowerment of all citizens through the


arts of journalism.
The graduate recognizes excellence and strives


to produce it. The
graduate’s professional and personal ethics are in harmony,


motivated by a sense
of purpose for good in the community. The graduate


celebrates
individuality and respects differences while searching


 for the common good.


 


HOW THIS COURSE FITS INTO THE DEPARTMENT MISSION


 


     “...the
purpose of media education is to produce well-rounded graduates who have
critical thinking skills as well as practical skills, and who have an
understanding of the philosophy of the media and a dedication to the public
service role that the media have in our society.”


--
Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication


Curriculum
Task Force, 1996, p. 106





Communication Ethics and Law is
a core course in communication arts, designed to apply the principles you have
encountered in general education courses and other courses to the world of
communication professionals.


 


·        
A thinking journalist is capable of making
ethical decisions in a reasoned manner even in the heat of battle. This course
allows you to consider ethical issues in a safe, thoughtful environment so you
will be better prepared when decisions are demanded in more stressful situations.


·        
Ethical reflection results in open-mindedness.


·        
The course will help clarify the purpose of
communications in society so that you have a better sense of how your
profession contributes to the good of the community.


·        
The course focuses on helping you learn to
“clarify” professional decisions; it does not provide specific answers to
professional problems. It respects your own conscience and your fundamental
principles. It discusses widely held professional ethics but it is not a slave
to them.


 


What is the question of the
course? The question of ethics may be simplified to, “How should I live?” The
question of ethics applied to the work you do as a profession, then, is simply,
“How should I practice my profession?” The trick is to harmonize the answer to
those two questions.


 


HOW THE COURSE ADDRESSES THE LITERACIES


Liberal arts are part of every
course in the department. Here are probable intersections of the literacies of
liberal arts at Park college with the course:


Writing -- Papers will be concise and well-written, demonstrating
clarity and economy of language. Writing quality will be a factor in evaluation
of all papers.


Speaking -- The course includes a series of group dialogues.
Clarity and impact of those sessions will be factors in the evaluation.


Critical thinking -- The course includes discussion and reflection
aimed at demonstrating and practicing critical thinking in ethics. The group
dialogues seek to illustrate the practice
of philosophy applied to the practice
of journalism.


Science -- Though some methods suggested for ethical decision
making may be less scientific, others are built on empirical models. All
methods value consistency and reason.


Aesthetics -- Not applicable, except for one week of discussion on
ethics and the artist.


Ethics -- Naturally, the bulk of the course focuses here. All
activities and projects seek understanding of the good, as applied to
communication professionals.



Rubric

CompetencyExceeds Expectation (3)Meets Expectation (2)Does Not Meet Expectation (1)No Evidence (0)
Synthesis                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  
Outcomes
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    
Student applies all the major ideas examined in the course to the news article in question. Her application is specific to the news article and she is able to draw conclusions about the article or the reporting method using each of these ideas. Student applies some of the major ideas examined in the course to the news article in question. Her application is frequently specific to the news article and she is frequently able to draw conclusions about the article or the reporting method using each of these ideas. Student restates many of the major ideas examined in the course but does not apply them to the specific news article provided for the paper. The paper does not utilize the ideas of the course to answer the question. No citations are provided. 
Analysis                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   
Outcomes
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    
Student articulates the connection, or lack of connection, between each ethical principle examined in the course and the central elements of the mock news article provided for the reaction paper. Student articulates the connection, or lack of connection, between several ethical principle examined in the course and the central elements of the mock news article provided for the reaction paper. Student articulates the essence of each ethical principle examined across the course but does not apply them to the mock news article. The student does not provide evidence of understanding the principles of the course. 
Evaluation                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 
Outcomes
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    
Student articulates a position on how the mock story should be assessed in terms of the ethical principles raised across the breadth of the course. The position is supported by evidence from several philosophical principles Student articulates a position on the ethical strength of the mock news article but does not support the position with principles raised in the course. Student analyzes the mock news article but does articulate a position on the ethical strength of the news article. The student does not approach the ethical issues raised by the article. 
Terminology                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                
Outcomes
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    
Student describes all philosophers and their ideas accurately. The paper is comprehensive in utilizing all the major points of the course. Student describes most philosophers and their ideas accurately. Inaccuracies still show modest understanding of the principles. Student demonstrates modest understanding of general principles but does not provide either a comprehensive discussion of them or the ability to match philosophers or ph8ilosophies to ideas. The student does not recognize the ethical issues involved in the article. 
Concepts                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   
Outcomes
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    
The student utilizes the ideas to clarify the issues involved in the mock story. The student articulates the nature of the connection between the communicator and the community. The student utilizes the ideas to clarify the issues involved in the mock story The student describes some philosophical principles to the question but does not articulate the connection between communicator and community and does not utilize these ideas to clarify the issues involved in the mock story. The student does not deal with community connections or professional issues. 
Application                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                
Outcomes
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    
The student articulates understanding of the existence of all expected ethical concerns about the mock story. The student articulates understanding of the existence of some expected ethical concerns about the mock story. The student articulates only a few ethical concerns raised by the story. The student does not deal with ethical issues raised by the story. 
Whole Artifact                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             
Outcomes
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    
The student creates a comprehensive discussion of the principles, reaches conclusions and supports those conclusions. The student creates a discussion of some principles and utilizes those principles to reach conclusion about the mock story. The student demonstrates realization of some ethical problems with the story and uses at least one ethical principle from the course to approach it. The answer does not demonstrate processing of any ethical material or discussion from the course. 
Component                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  
Outcomes
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    
The paper shows careful, clear writing, is thematic and organized in a matter that demonstrates thought about content. The paper shows careful, clear writing, is organized but does not appear to be guided by a general theme. The writing is adequate. The paper is not organized. The paper is unclear and not organized. 

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Last Updated:1/11/2009 4:25:42 PM