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Bridgewater State College
Department of Communication Studies
Spring 2008
CC 496-01 Mass Communication Seminar: Media Ethics& law
Tuesday 2:00-4:40 PM LIB 306


About the Course
This is an intensive writing course. It requires writing skills and critical abilities to understand and critique the foundations, conceptual frameworks, ethics, regulations and methodologies in the area of mass communication and media studies. This course discusses censorship and challenges its core aspects. It also intends to discuss the main principles, and introduces practical and professional guidelines to assist students-future practitioners- to come to grips with media and mass communication ethical issues and rules of law in the field. Philosophical theories that deal with moral and ethics will be explored as well. Discussing national and global media ethics, moral problems, and dilemmas of mass communication are within the scope of this course. It also strives to teach students how to deal with the media ethical question(s) at work. In general, this course will enable you-the student- to know how to draw the fine line between what’s right or wrong in media practices.

 Required Texts

* Media Ethics: Issues and Cases, Philip Patterson and Lee Wilkins, McGraw-Hill Higher Education, 6th Edition, 2007.

* Media Censorship in the Middle East, Jabbar Al-Obaidi, The Edwin Mellen Press, 2007.

Please do not hesitate to ask if you would like other suggestions for additional readings on any of the subjects discussed in class.

Additional Description
In this seminar, students will be able to discuss intelligently and critically several legal controls governing media communication in the United States and other countries.. Particular attention will be focused on the ethical decision making, censorship, and ethics versus aesthetics, flow of news and information, manipulation by the media, confidential sources, and persuasion ethics. This seminar, also, offers you-the student- the opportunity to develop your understanding of legal and ethical concerns journalist encounter in the field. You will be engaged in doing readings, debating, cases’ presentations, blogging, and class discussions.

Assignments and Policies

1. Class Discussion

Students will form two large groups (A and B) and small groups of three members.  Groups are expected to cover specific topics and discuss cases. Their task is to generate an informative discussion in class. Students are strongly encouraged to participate in the discussion and to express their reactions to whatever being introduced. Class performance is important and will be considered for grade evaluation. Points are marked. You are asked to formulate questions and to develop a logical argument. You are required to use teaching and presentation technology (PowerPoint, video imager, video clips, audio tapes, handouts…etc). A DIRECT READING FROM THE TEXT WILL NOT BE ALLOWED. Students are required to submit their PowerPoint presentation via digital drop box. PLEASE NO FLOPPY DISKS. USE CEDS INSTEAD.


All Presentations will be posted on both blackboard and EMIJ

“While PowerPoint will not take the place of communication skills, it can be a great tool for enhancing and improving your skills.”


Tips and General Guides For PowerPoint

1.       "5 by 5 RULE" The five by five rule is to limit yourself to five lines of text per slide and no more than 5 words per line.

2.       . FONT : Keep the font sizes of your title lines greater than 42 points and of your general text at 36 point or larger. You may use 60 points for your main titles.

3.       you might consider using ALL BOLD fonts in presentations.

4.       When I want to emphasize a point then I either use a different color for the font, italicize the text or underline it.

5.       When you want to emphasize a point then you either use a different color for the font, italicize the text or underline it.

6.       Contrast your text and background colors.

     Use shadows for improved legibility.

7.       Don't Overuse Effects or Overcrowd Slides.

8.       Think Like Someone in your Audience. Picture what your audience will be seeing and hearing. Spend more time on content than on design issues. Use your own style with your own contrasted colors.

9.       Storyboard Your Presentation. PowerPoint helps you think structurally about your presentation. You know you need an introduction, body, main points, all supported with arguments, stories and examples and a conclusion with at least two questions to engage your audience in a good discussion.

10.   Do not use a lot of images and photos. If necessary use separate slide for each image or photo.

2.  Ethics Monthly International Journal(EMIJ) http://www.emij.net
Students will work together to publish three issues of this electronic monthly newsletter. EMIJ covers news and issues with regard to media ethics and practices in the U.S. and throughout the world. You are asked to write your own article. Do not use or copy articles from newspapers or the internet. You may react to issues and cases covered by the media. EMIJ is your open forum to express your articulated opinion and views. You are invited to take advantage of this practical way of connecting the classroom with the real world of media profession. Again, you are not allowed to duplicate or simply copy an article from other sources. The article must be chosen and written by you in its entirety. If you had to use some quotations, remember to acknowledge them and give credits to the sources. You are required to submit a hardcopy in class and an electronic copy via the assignment options.

February 19th               1st  Article
March 4th                        2nd Article
April  8th         3rd Article

EMIJ Article: One-typed page, single space, 12 Arial font, a paper copy  due in class and also send it via digital drop box.
Students will choose an editorial committee for this newsletter. Again, your newsletter EMIJ is on the web, (http://www.emij.net) and so your contributions will be electronically published.

3. Final Papers
* February 12: A proposal for your final paper DUE! Form will be provided.
You may select and write about current media topics or issues that discussed in the class. You are not limited to write about the American media practices. You may choose topics that deal with the international issues. Covering media ethics and promoting new professional understanding will be valued by the national and international institutions and will contribute to the heated debate over the role of the media in society. Topics must be approved by your instructor.

Specifications: TWENTY pages, typed, doubled spaced, 12 font size, Times New Roman, at least TWENY current sources (10- scholarly journals, current books, newspapers, TV programs and films, radio programs, interviews,…etc. You need to have a separate cover sheet with a title, your name, course title and number, instructor name, and the date of presentation. You are asked to hand in your paper and along with a CD on April 29th.  Do not email it or send it via the digital drop box. More details and guidelines will be provided during the semester. Each student is required to schedule at least two visits to my office during my office hours to discuss the final paper. The first one must happen before April. Instructions are available on Blackboard as well.

Final presentations: April 22-29. Each student will have up to fifteen minutes to present his/her paper. You are asked to use PowerPoint and you can use film and video clips, photos, and other instructional tools. You must submit a hardcopy and a CD   Sorry; late paper will not be accepted. DO NOT EMAIL YOUR FINAL PAPER.  Final paper must be submitted in the last class.
4. Online Group Discussion, blogging and Posting

Students are required to participate in the scheduled online group discussions and also to publish in the section of the Discussion Boards and  EMIJ blogging. No EXCEPTIONS.

5. Unscheduled and Occasional Assignments are also expected. This will be determined by your instructor.

Students' Responsibilities

1. Students are expected to attend class regularly and to complete assigned readings and assignments on time. A failing grade may be resulted from excessive absences despite the quality of any written work submitted. I would consider two absences to be excessive. Lateness will have a negative affect on your final grade as well. Class will begin promptly at 2:00pm. Therefore, being late to class and two absences will adversely affect your final grade. Students must attend the final exam and presentation on the day assigned. Failure to attend will result in a failing grade for the course. There will be no INCOMPLETE for this course. YOU CANNOT OBTAIN CREDITS FOR THIS COURSE IF YOU FAILED TO COMPLETE ALL SCHEDULED ASSIGNMENTS.

2. It is your responsibility to coordinate your schedule with your group to prepare for your assigned presentation. In your presentation, you need to consider using technology (Internet, overhead, videos, audio, PowerPoint, and posters). You may prepare handouts too. Reading directly from a chapter would not be permitted. You will have 10- minute to present your main points. Prepare some questions to be raised in class. This will help you to engage your classmates in a valuable discussion.

3. Students must bring in their textbooks to class for occasional in-class critical and analytical reading.
4.  All assignments must be typed, double spaced and twelve points font and be submitted on the assigned day. A hardcopy and a disk are expected.

5.Your participation will be highly admired by your classmates and your professor.

6.You are also required to publish online  and as indicated in the scheduled events.

7. Students are encouraged to consider more than one side of an issue.

8. To earn three credits for this course (COMM496) student must complete all assignments and other activities decided by the instructor. NO EXCEPTIONS.

9. To better serve your educational and learning interests, I reserve the rights to alter the materials and/or make some amendments to the scheduled events.

10.  Please, do not complain about this class to your classmates or at the cafeteria for this practice will not meet your need. I ask that you address these issues directly to me. I will be more than happy to listen to you and work with you to resolve some of these problems or issues. It is my educational role to assist you to succeed in your work.

Specific Objectives

This course is designed to motivate you to understand and appreciate the following objectives:
1.Gaining factual knowledge about media and mass communication ethics and legal issues. This also includes general policies, terminology, classifications, and media regulations.

2. Learning fundamental principles, generalizations, theories, and arguments about media and mass communication ethics.

3. Becoming familiar with mass media law and ethics in the US and global media.

4. Recognizing the need for professional ethics in journalism and mass media in general.

 5. Know how to write about issues concerning media laws, regulations and ethics.

 Expected Outcomes
Typically upon completion of this course students will be able to:

1. Spot and analyze ethical issues in the mass media.

2. Awaken students to question the profession's conventional wisdom.

3. Propose some practical solutions to change those conventions.

4. Understand and discuss media laws and regulations.

Procedures and Grading

 It is absolutely essential that you attend class and participate in discussion.

Well, here is the rule for this intellectual challenge - no talks--- no participation and concentration will lead to no grade. Please, get ready to engage in class discussion, speak up, let your classmates and instructor hear your comments and hear your views. You are encouraged to use your listening and communication skills to get yourself involved and to motivate other to take part in the discussion. Remember that this class is not a monologue and it is not mine alone. It is our class and we have to make it really good and interesting.

Simply, an (A) will go for a student with a commitment, great level of enthusiasm and participation, using critical thinking process, open up to new ideas and views, and showing  excellent writing and analytical abilities. Of course, you may add, that he/she had registered zero absence in this class. Again, demonstrating a tremendously high level of participation, which means a serious contribution in reading, presentation, discussion, writing an excellent monthly reaction report and an informative and well written articles for EMIJ is your path to earn a high grade. As you see you are the maker of your own grade. Time and again a grade is earned by you the student and not given by a teacher or a an evaluator. I’m willing to work hard with you to make this educational experience worth our time and effort.

 Grading System

A — Superior; B — Good; C — Satisfactory; D — Poor; F — Failure.


Attendance and class participation  20%
Group Presentation                          20%
Case Analysis                                   10%
EMIJ Articles (3 x 5)                       15%
Final Paper                                       20%
Blogging& Discussion                     15%


Total                                                 100


 Grade Scale


























Schedule of Events


Room: LIB 306







Introduction and Orientation. Read. Ch 1 (1-37) Patterson and Wilkins.
Groups formed.
Blogging and posting 300 words (EMIJ and Blackboard)






Informing the Public. Review Ch. 1.  in Patterson and Wilkins. Also read Chapter 2 Essay 38-39.
Start searching for a topic and a working title for your final paper!
proposal must be submitted on 2/12. USED PROVIDED FROM



Group Discussions: Cases in Patterson and Wilkins. PowerPoint. Pay attention to micro, midrange and macro issues.
G-6: Case 2-A pp 40-43.
G-2: Case 2-B pp 44-46.
G-4: Case 2-C pp 47-48.
Proposal for Final Paper Due.
PowerPoint is required. Presentations will be posted on both EMIJ and Blackboard.
Blogging and posting 300 words(EMIJ and Blackboard)



Group Discussions: Cases in Patterson and Wilkins. PowerPoint. Pay attention to micro, midrange and macro issues.
G-5: Case 2-D pp 49-51.
G-1: Case 2-E pp 52--55.
G-3: Case 2-F pp 56-59.
Class: Case 2-G and H pp 60-67.
PowerPoint is required. Presentations will be posted on both EMIJ and Blackboard.
EMIJ Article One Due. Write about any aspects from previously discussed topics. One page, single space.12 FZ. ON CD.
Blogging and posting 300 words(EMIJ and Blackboard)



Class Discussion: Media Censorship. Read. Ch. 1 and 2 in
Blogging and posting 300 words(EMIJ and Blackboard)







Advertising Ethics. Read. Ch 3 (68-76) in Patterson and Wilkins. And Group Discussions: Cases in Patterson and Wilkins. PowerPoint. Pay attention to micro, midrange and macro issues.
G. 1. Case 3-A pp 77-75.
G. 2. Case 3-B pp79-81.
G. 3. Case-3-C pp82-84.
G. 4. Case-3-D pp85-87.
Blogging and posting 300 words(EMIJ and Blackboard)



One-on-One Meetings. Preparations for Final Paper and Presentations



Spring Break. ENJOY.



Class Discussion: Case 4-A, B, C, D, E, F. Read Chapter 4 Cases pp 105-122. ) in Patterson and Wilkins.
G. 5. Case-4-A pp 105-107.
G. 6. Case-4-F pp120—122.
EMIJ Article Two Due. Write about any aspects from previously discussed topics. One page, single space.12 FZ. ON CD.
Blogging and posting 300 words(EMIJ and Blackboard)






Class Discussion: Media Censorship. Read. Ch. 3 and 4 in
Blogging and posting 300 words(EMIJ and Blackboard)



Class Discussion: Media Economics. Read Chapter 8 Cases pp 209-222 in Patterson and Wilkins.
EMIJ Article Three Due. Write about any aspects from previously discussed topics. One page, single space.12 FZ. ON CD.
Blogging and posting 300 words(EMIJ and Blackboard)



Class discussion: The Ethics of Photo. Read Chapter 9 Cases pp 237-261 in Patterson and Wilkins.
Blogging and posting 300 words(EMIJ and Blackboard)



Final Presentation. All students are required to attend the session. Presenters are asked to observe the general dress code. Failing to attend will affect your final grade



Final Presentation. All students are required to attend the session. Presenters are asked to observe the general dress code. Failing to attend will affect your final grade.



Final Presentation. All students are required to attend the session. Presenters are asked to observe the general dress code. Failing to attend will affect your final grade.
Final Papers Due.( You must turn in a hard copy and a CD. NO DELAY! NO EMAIL!



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Last update 10/07/2007