Responsible journalism is the forerunner of justice and the foundation of democracy. Student journalists accept the same challenges as commercial journalists, that is, to provide fair, accurate, and objective coverage of stories that have high-news value and are interesting to the audience. To be a trusted source that informs the electorate, a journalist needs news-gathering skills and a well-honed sense of ethics.
As 21st Century technology enables us to communicate faster and farther than ever before, journalists are challenged by the serious – and seemingly impossible – task of meeting the boss’s demand to “break” the story first while still attending to all of the ethical and professional challenges of gathering information responsibly and authenticating it before sharing it with the public.
This lesson plan is designed to engage students in the creation of an ethics mission statement that will be used internally and shared with the public so that they, too, can gauge the journalists’ success in being both accurate and trustworthy in the fair and ethical pursuit of stories.
This 6-page lesson plan has the flexibility to be delivered as a single two-hour session; 2 x one-hour classes or 3 x 40-minute classes, and it includes:
• Detailed lecture notes, essential questions for class discussion, and links to major media outlets’ and journalism advocacy groups’ ethics codes that can be used as examples and in class discussion and writing activities.
• 3 x Activities to analyze mission statements; identify necessary points to include in an ethics mission statement; and, write a mission statement for use in your school’s media.
• HANDOUT -- list of examples of media ethics statements
• GUIDELINES for writing a school media ethics policy.
This product comes to you as a customizable Word document.