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Lights, Camera, Reporting: Media Law and Ethics Through Film (new & improved)

by The Ohio State University

This course material is only available in the iTunes U app on iPhone or iPad.

Course Description

Welcome to the wonderful world of law and ethics as they pertain to Journalism and the First Amendment. This course will feature legal and ethical issues facing journalists--as dramatized in the movies.  It is a unique adaptation of the case study approach often used in journalism law and ethics classes.
Journalists have been major characters in the movies since film began, and use of film in this course will help you visualize and understand the basic protections and restrictions offered by legal interpretations of the First Amendment, as well as to see and deal with the ethical problems and dilemmas journalists face. Examining these issues through film will let us see media law and ethics in “real life” situations to better understand First Amendment rights, and journalists’ legal and ethical responsibilities and limitations while looking at them from a practical, historical and societal context.
We will learn by examining these fictional and true-life scenarios—we well as recreating significant court cases that have shaped journalism law, crafting arguments representing both sides of legal and ethical issues, and debating key issues that arise in the films.
Our focus will be on such core concepts as:
·      Libel 
·      Invasion of privacy
·      Prior restraints
·      Newsgathering
·      Privilege
·      Objectivity in reporting
·      Bias and transparency
·      Conflicts of interest
·      Sources
This is not a class where you can be passive and do well--your engagement and participation is a key part of your success in the course.

Our goals are that by the end of the semester, you will be able to:

  • Understand media law and the ethical considerations that reporters are likely to face.
  • Identify the significance of key court decisions in the history of American journalism.
  • Distinguish between ethical and non-ethical conduct by journalists.
  • Demonstrate an ability to think critically and make fair and reasoned judgment about news, issues and events.
  • Employ journalistic standards and practices in a variety of newsgathering settings.
  • Demonstrate a professional work ethic by being on time and prepared to contribute to each class session.

Lights, Camera, Reporting: Media Law and Ethics Through Film (new & improved)
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