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COMM103: Introduction to Mass Media

Unit 13: Ethics of Mass Media   Many argue that in a just world, business and ethics should go hand in hand, that social responsibility is just as important as profitability, and that the nature and pace of change should be tempered by costs other than monetary ones, including the cost to the individual, not just the group or mass.  Others argue that the objectivity and rationality of the free market should play the preeminent role in determining how a business operates.  As you work through this unit, it is important that you keep in mind the cultural origins of ethics and how they can be impacted by ideology and other factors, which can produce a murkier pool of issues than is acknowledged by the various codes of ethics put in place to guide the media and its representatives.  Nevertheless, anyone working within or with the media should be aware of and prepared to deal with ethical dilemmas and challenges.  Use this unit to understand some of the issues that are out there and also to establish your own perspectives on how they should be handled.

Unit 13 Time Advisory
This unit should take approximately 3.75 hours to complete.

☐    Subunit 13.1: 2.5 hours

☐    Subunit 13.2: 0.75 hours

☐    Subunit 13.3: 0.5 hours

Unit13 Learning Outcomes
Upon completion of this unit, you will be able to: - Connect problems involving racial and gender diversity in mass media with cultural issues beyond the media, including but not limited to race and gender stereotyping, sexual media content, and cultural expressions of sexuality. - Describe the social responsibility role of the media with respect to delivering news to the public, offering reliable journalism, and combating the effects of bias in news presentations. - Provide examples of why the Internet has increased concerns about surveillance, personal privacy rights, and plagiarism. - Explain the distinctions between copyright infringement and fair use.

13.1 Ethical Issues in Mass Media   - Reading: Understanding Media and Culture: An Introduction to Mass Communication: “Chapter 14, Section 1: Ethical Issues in Mass Media” Link: Understanding Media and Culture: An Introduction to Mass Communication“Chapter 14, Section 1: Ethical Issues in Mass Media” (PDF)
 
Instructions: Focus on understanding the terms used in the readings and how they drive the review of this unit.  In addition, keep the outcomes listed above in mind as you read so that you are not only absorbing facts but also the examples, relationships, and theories that will enable you to use the information you encounter in the manner the outcomes describe.  Note that this reading will also cover the material you need to know for subunits 13.1.1–13.1.2.
 
Reading these sections should take approximately 15 minutes.  Completing the exercises associated with these sections may require an additional 15 minutes.
 
Terms of Use: This text was adapted by The Saylor Foundation under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share-Alike 3.0 License without attribution as requested by the work’s original creator or licensee.

  • Lecture: Utah Valley State College: Phil Gordon’s COMM 1500: Introduction to Mass Communication: “Episode 30 – Media and Ethics, Part 1, and Episode 31 – Media and Ethics, Part 2” Link: Utah Valley State College: Phil Gordon’s COMM 1500: Introduction to Mass Communication“Episode 30 – Media and Ethics, Part 1, and Episode 31 – Media and Ethics, Part 2” (MP4)

    Instructions: Please watch both of these episodes by focusing on how the explanations and examples the program hosts and student guests provide supplement the textbook readings.  In particular, listen for content which relates to the unit outcomes and take notes accordingly, especially when someone uses a specific example to illustrate a point.  Moreover, if you are not as familiar with American media as the textbook assumes you are, you might benefit from listening carefully to the discussions and then writing down the names of media, media personalities, or media products with which you are unfamiliar.  When you’ve finished watching, use the Internet to research any unfamiliar references so that you will be prepared if those references appear in the final exam.

    Watching these lectures should take approximately 2 hours.

    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

13.1.1 Stereotypes, Prescribed Roles, and Public Perception   Note: This subunit and the subunits beneath (13.1.1.1–13.1.1.2) are covered by the reading assigned for subunit 13.1.  They are introduced by major or minor subheadings in section 14.1 of the textbook.  Upon completing this reading, be sure you can define what ethics are and give examples of ethical dilemmas faced by the media.

13.1.1.1 Minority Exclusion and Stereotypes   Note: This subunit is covered by the reading assigned for subunit 13.1.

13.1.1.2 Femininity in Mass Media   Note: This subunit is covered by the reading assigned for subunit 13.1.

13.1.2 Sexual Content in Public Communication   Note: This subunit is covered by the reading assigned beneath subunit 13.1.  Being able to articulate what makes an issue a dilemma can be a challenge.  Pursue this reading material to clarify in your own mind what a dilemma really is and make sure you can provide additional examples of ethical dilemmas involving the media.

13.2 News Media and Ethics   - Reading: Understanding Media and Culture: An Introduction to Mass Communication: “Chapter 14, Section 2: News Media and Ethics” Link: Understanding Media and Culture: An Introduction to Mass Communication“Chapter 14, Section 2: News Media and Ethics” (PDF)
 
Instructions: Please focus on understanding the terms used in the readings and how they drive the review of this unit.  In addition, keep the outcomes listed above in mind as you read so that you are not only absorbing facts but also the examples, relationships, and theories that will enable you to use the information you encounter in the manner the outcomes describe.  Note that this reading will also cover the material you need to know for subunits 13.2.1–13.2.4.
 
Reading this section should take approximately 15 minutes.  Completing the exercises associated with these readings may require an additional 30 minutes.
 
Terms of Use: This text was adapted by The Saylor Foundation under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share-Alike 3.0 License without attribution as requested by the work’s original creator or licensee.

13.2.1 Immediate News Delivery   Note: This subunit is covered by the reading assigned beneath subunit 13.2.  Pay attention to the complex process that has caused the media to emphasize speed (of reporting) over other reporting qualities when it comes to fast-breaking news.  Try to connect the dots such that you can describe the entire process, from start to finish, including when and why public expectations and business demands drive the process forward.

13.2.2 Social Responsibility of News Media   Note: This subunit and the subunits beneath (13.2.2.1–13.2.2.5) are covered by the reading assigned for subunit 13.2.  They are introduced by major or minor subheadings in section 14.2 of the textbook.  Please focus on producing, from your own observations, examples which illustrate each of the ways the media can become more socially responsible.

13.2.2.1 Present News Stories That Inform and Serve the Needs of Citizens   Note: This subunit is covered by the reading assigned for subunit 13.2.

13.2.2.2 Present Issues Fairly   Note: This subunit is covered by the reading assigned for subunit 13.2.

13.2.2.3 Present Stories in a Way That Addresses Their Complexity   Note: This subunit is covered by the reading assigned for subunit 13.2.

13.2.2.4 Present Diverse Perspectives   Note: This subunit is covered by the reading assigned for subunit 13.2.

13.2.2.5 Monitor Government and Corporations   Note: This subunit is covered by the reading assigned for subunit 13.2.

13.2.3 Characteristics of Reliable Journalism   Note: This subunit is covered by the reading assigned beneath subunit 13.2.  It is introduced by a major or minor subheading in section 14.2 of the textbook.  Use your critical thinking skills when reading this material to discern what is and is not reliable when it comes to journalism.  You should be able to apply the characteristics the textbook mentions to specific examples from your own experiences as a consumer of news.

13.2.4 The Effects of Bias in News Presentations   Note: This subunit is covered by the reading assigned beneath subunit 13.2.  It is introduced by a major or minor subheading in section 14.2 of the textbook.  As you read through this material, focus on how you can recognize bias in the news and if you have the time, seek out some real examples.

13.3 Ethical Considerations of the Online World   - Reading: Understanding Media and Culture: An Introduction to Mass Communication: “Chapter 14, Section 3: Ethical Considerations of the Online World” Link: Understanding Media and Culture: An Introduction to Mass Communication“Chapter 14, Section 3: Ethical Considerations of the Online World” (PDF)

 Instructions: Please focus on understanding the terms used in the
readings and how they drive the review of this unit.  In addition,
keep the outcomes listed above in mind as you read so that you are
not only absorbing facts but also the examples, relationships, and
theories that will enable you to use the information you encounter
in the manner the outcomes describe.  Note that this reading will
also cover the material you need to know for subunits
13.3.1–13.3.2.  

 Reading this section should take approximately 15 minutes. 
Completing the exercises, end-of-chapter assessment, critical
thinking questions, and career connection associated with these
readings may require an additional 15 minutes to complete.  

 Terms of Use: This text was adapted by The Saylor Foundation under
a [Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share-Alike 3.0
License](http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/) without
attribution as requested by the work’s original creator or licensee.

13.3.1 Privacy and Surveillance   Note: This subunit is covered by the reading assigned beneath subunit 13.3.  As has been mentioned often, the best way to read through this material is by connecting it to your own life.  How have you been impacted by privacy issues online?  For example, have you shopped for a product and then had ads for similar products “follow” you around wherever else you went online?  When you think about how information about you is being used, how do you feel?  After you have finished reading this subsection, you might want to ask yourself if you feel differently than you did before you read it.

13.3.2 Fair Use and Plagiarism   Note: This subunit and the subunits beneath (13.3.2.1–13.3.2.2) are covered by the reading assigned for subunit 13.3.  They are introduced by major or minor subheadings in section 14.3 of the textbook.  Concentrate on the differences between copyright infringement and plagiarism as you read this material and be prepared to recognize examples of each.

13.3.2.1 Copyright Infringement   Note: This subunit is covered by the reading assigned for subunit 13.3.

13.3.2.2 Plagiarism   Note: This subunit is covered by the reading assigned for subunit 13.3.