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Media Ethics Week 1 Notes

by: Kelsey Fagan

Media Ethics Week 1 Notes J 397

Marketplace > University of Oregon > Journalism > J 397 > Media Ethics Week 1 Notes
Kelsey Fagan
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About this Document

The first week of notes.
Media Ethics
Jennifer Schwartz
Class Notes




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This 3 page Class Notes was uploaded by Kelsey Fagan on Sunday October 2, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to J 397 at University of Oregon taught by Jennifer Schwartz in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 82 views. For similar materials see Media Ethics in Journalism at University of Oregon.

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Date Created: 10/02/16
J397 Notes            Week 1 Day 1 (9/27) Examples of “Questionable Media”  Coca Cola 9/11 display  Bloomingdales’ holiday ad­ inappropriate eggnog spiking caption  Malaysian Airline flight crash o TV coverage­ rummaging through luggage o New York Times front page­ image of a dead body in the wreckage  Rolling Stones­ UVA sexual assault fabricated article  StudyMode­ free “example” research papers  Amazon­ “Best Book of the Month” Definitions  Ethics: rules of behavior or moral principles that guide our actions in given situations  Media ethics: rules of behavior or moral principles that guide our actions in media  professions  Rules of behavior: formal and informal controls o Formal controls:  Law  Professional codes of media professions   Society of Professional Journalists  American Advertising Federation  Public Relations Society of America  Informal Controls  Values/duties/virtues­personal, professional, etc.  Day 2 (9/29) Review of Media Law: Legal Framework  First Amendment (1791) o Protects:  Free speech  Free press  Freedom of religion  Freedom of assembly  Freedom to petition the government o Examples:  Burning the flag­protected  1983 spoof ad of Jerry Falwell­protected  2005 Wikipedia post falsely accusing someone of being involved in JFK  assassination­ not protected Media Laws that restrict speech are designed to protect rights: o Personal rights J397 Notes            Week 1 o Intellectual property rights o News gathering rights Major Areas of Unprotected Speech: o Defamation o Public safety o Privacy intrusion o Speech that violates other rights Defamation: injures someone’s reputation or livelihood o Can’t accuse of being a criminal or incompetent or unethical o Types:  Libel: published or broadcasted  Slander: spoken Truth is the best defense against defamation charges o Examples:  Eminem’s comment “epitome of white trash” about his mother­ mother  sued him and they settled for $25,000  Demi Moore and Bruce Willis sued People Magazine over an article  exploiting their divorce­ the divorce was public record after being filed so  People Magazine won the case  Oprah’s comments on Mad Cow Disease­ was sued by cattle farmers in  Texas and won the case because she didn’t make up Mad Cow Disease o Press has an obligation to check the truthfulness of statements  Press cannot knowingly put information that they know is false Different standards for private and public figures o people and the press may criticize public figures more than private figures o Democracy best served when public issues are debated Defamation conditions: o Private:  False claims  Damage to reputation  Media neglect in determining the truthfulness of statement(s) o Public:  Higher standard for proving neglect of the media to determine truthfulness  Actual malice: disseminate a falsity or with reckless disregard for the truth o Examples:  Alabama Ministers paid for an ad in the New York Times to solicit  donations (1960) Police creating “an unprecedented wave of terror”­ many other  false accusations    NOT Libelous­ police are public figures so they were held to the  higher standard of proving defamation  Blake Shelton­ rehab rumors in inTouch magazine J397 Notes            Week 1 Shelton won because he was not in rehab or about to go into rehab­ the accusations were completely false  LA Businessman­ compared to Bernie Madoff on a disgruntled  employee’s website Not true­ business man won o More defense against defamation  Truth  Privilege: absolute and qualified  Fair comment Absolute Privilege: public officials acting in their official capacity have a special right to  speak freely without worrying about being sued Qualified Privilege: another source can use public information without worrying about  being sued o Examples:  Doctor: inappropriate patient contact­ Medical Board has absolute  privilege and that information becomes public­ ABC news has qualified  privilege to use that information Fair Comment:  o Any honest opinion or criticism o Reviews o Satire or comedy o Comparative advertising Opinion vs. Fact in reviews (example): o Opinion: “The star acted as if he was under the influence of drugs.” o Fact: “The star was under the influence of drugs.” *potentially libelous Examples: o Courtney Love tweeted “asswipe nasty lying hosebag thief” about a designer  Courtney claimed it’s opinion­ but it was stated as a fact o Young Major was featured in an obvious spoof article making fun of his age­it  was obvious satire­ no case


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