Teaching Notes

You must become the flame on the candle. - Thich Nhat Hanh

Thursday, March 1, 2012

And the Oscar Goes to. . .

By 4 p.m., Tuesday, March 6, please do the following:

1) Visit the media ethics video projects at the link below:


2) Decide which video from 2011 and 2010 you'd award a Socrates -- our version of the Oscar -- for "Best Video on an Ethics Case"

3) Explain why, being sure to consider (a) the organization of the presentation; (b) the appropriateness of the decision-making model applied to the case; (c) the clarity and completeness with which the model was applied to the case; and (d) the artistic merit of it.


Crystal said...

My choices for the Socrates awards are Death by Photography and Photojournalism.

Death by Photography (2010)
The organization was clear. The group first introduced the issue with background history about the photographer Kevin Carter. The group also raised questions of the issue presented with the case along with official photojournalism ethic guidelines to help guide viewers to answer the questions however they please. The whole video made me think and wonder with the questions in my head. The facts about the photographer and the photography that lead up to Carter to committing suicide made me listen for more.
The model was appropriate because the group first introduced the facts. They used lines of quotes of various people about Kevin carter, his photography and photojournalism in general. They presented the loyalties that said Carter took photography of the cruel world because people need to see that stuff. The value was the public’s right to know and the principles were of course the code of ethics. Carter was also instructed not to touch the subjects he was photographing and to just take the photos as if he was not there.
The “Potter Box” model was not clear or stated in the video, but I view that as a good thing. You don’t want to state something right away. You want the viewers to figure it out themselves; getting them to think while watching the video and not just hand them the answers. It can start discussions and debate on what viewers thought what was what. Everyone taking the class is studying the potter box so we know what to look out for.
I liked how they started out with a quote about the main person they were talking about. It gets the viewer thinking about what the video is about and questions may appear in their head like “Is the video going to be about the quote specifically or the person who said the quote?” Also, the way his photography was laid out in the whole presentation was nice and it can introduce viewers to his work. The photos also provided as great examples to how graphic the photos are.

Photojournalism (2011)
By: Pamela Alvarez, Lindsey Claro, Michael Grob, Andrea Vendegna
They introduced the backstory of photojournalism by showing infamous photos of controversial events that happened in history that were released to the public. Then the group talked about the War on Afghanistan and the general impact before introducing the story about a young soldier killed and was photographed critically wounded. The photo was released to the world and they explained each reason to why and how that was okay by not stating just opinion, but opinion with fact.
It was very appropriate for the potter box to be presented for this case. In fact it’s essential in order to argue whether this case was ethical or not.
The potter box model was presented very clear. They defined each part of the “Potter Box” and stated the appropriate details for each category in the model. The presenters literally highlighted all the aspects for each “box”. The details were very thorough and well researched. Every question that came to my head was answered. For example, did the young soldier’s family know about the photograph? And what was the Associated Press’ process in distributing the photo? The diagram and visual models were outstanding and easy to follow along. It wasn’t rushed which stood out the most from other case videos I saw.
The intro music going along with the photos in the beginning of the clip gives off a feel of seriousness and could put viewers in a mood to pay close attention. When watching or listening to something, it takes a person 30 seconds to determine if they want to continue watching or listening to a medium. This video defiantly grasped my attention.

Kaitlyn Vella said...

The video that I chose for the Socrates Award was re-Targeting Ads. Within the first few seconds of this video, I was already drawn in. The group acted out a humorous skit regarding re-targeting ads, but instead of just showing what they are like online they acted out what it would be like if they happened in person. It really put into perspective what re-targeting ads are and what they do. I also liked the fact that they brought this scene back at the end of their video. From then start of it, this video was organized really well.

They started off by explaining to the viewers exactly what re-targeting ads were. They gave their viewers a clear understanding of what exactly companies and corporations were doing when they used re-targeting ads, and they also explained how that effects us. I also really liked the fact that they didn’t have too much going on in the actual video. When the speaker was talking, it was easy to concentrate on listening to his information as well as look at the pictures or read the text. The text was always what he was saying, or a form of it, which is something I liked. In some of the other videos I would get so caught up trying to read at what was on the screen and miss what was actually being said.

This group did a very nice job at incorporating and using the “Potter Box.” I liked the fact that before they jumped into it, they explained just exactly what the “Potter Box” was and why they were using it. Even though we know what it is since we’re in Media Ethics, not everybody knows what it is or how to use it. By explaining what it is they were expanding their audience. Now people other than ones educated on media ethics would be able to watch and fully grasp/understand what they were talking about.

I also just really liked the topic that they chose. I think re-targeting ads are really interesting, and pretty creepy. They are something that anyone with a computer is really affected by. I also don’t think a lot of people know what they are or the consequences of them, so I feel that this video did a great job of explaining that all. All in all I thought this video was really well done.

Molly Jane said...

The Socrates for "Best Video on an Ethics Case" goes to..


After viewing all the media ethics videos, I thought that "Photojournalism" thoroughly fit all criteria mentioned. The presentation of the video was very concise and easy to follow. It flowed nicely with the oral presentation that went along with the video. I thought their use of photography backed their argument well and I liked how they showed the potter box as they were presenting each point. The potter box was an effective decision-making model for this case. The group efficiently used it to back their argument. The potter box was applied with clarity and completeness and it was very easy to follow along with each point. I also appreciated their use of quotes throughout the video. The quotes helped support their position and were both effective and powerful. Their video wasn't as dynamic as some others, yet it was professional looking and consistent. It also held my attention and was informative.

Jake said...

The group that I would give the Socrates award to would be the Re-targeting Advertisements. I really enjoyed how they started the video off by having the girl constantly come up to the man offering the scarf over and over again. Personally the video shows how advertisers are constantly shoving their products in the consumers face.

As the video continued I believe they did a good job showing detailed research of what people are posting, what sorts of information consumers are giving out to these companies and how advertisers or invading personal space of people.

The group then went into details if what advertisers were doing was ethical by showing the Potter Box method which I thought was done very thoroughly and thought out. During the entire video the group did a good job keeping the details and spacing of the video clear and concise while also adding a little bit of humor to it as well.

Lauren said...

My choice for the Socrates award goes to Re-targeting Ads. The first thing Professor Good asked us to consider was the organization of the presentation. This group began with a somewhat cheesy but effective clip introducing what would be discussed. After, they explain what re-targeting is to fully inform the viewer. The images that followed the narrator's voice were easy to follow and enhanced what the narrator was explaining rather than overwhelming the viewer like the Internet Info Tracking video did. In that project, there were too many images with distracting writing that did not allow me to focus on both what the narrator was saying and what was on the screen at the same time. The organization continued to flow nicely with the Re-targeting Ads video as they explained the dilemma of Re-targeting and then dove into the Potter Box. Prior to using the Potter Box method, they again explain what it is. After reaching a conclusion, they offer a possible solution and then return to their opening video to tie everything together. Therefore, this clear and concise organization added to the overall quality of the video.

The appropriateness of the decision-making model was spot on. The Potter Box was a perfect choice to lay out the positives and negatives of re-targeting ads and decide whether they are unethical or not.

As stated above, the clarity of the model was accomplished because it was organized well. They took the time to touch on each of the four aspects of the Potter Box.

The Re-Targeting Ads video had the highest artistic merit in my opinion. All of the other projects simply used images already on the internet as a backdrop to their narration. However, this group took the time to conduct their own short video clip to add effect. Also, when explaining the dry material of the Potter Box, they used font that was easy to read, yet had color so that it was not boring to look at. Small artistic details such as that made this the most visually pleasing video.

DOlivo1989 said...

In viewing all 8 of the videos on the little rebellion website, it was real difficult for me to choose which video had the best presentation and accurate information, because all of them seemed good. But in narrowing my choices, the video that caught the most attention was the photojournalism video.

I was real impressed that the narrator in the video incorporated the potter box, and gave examples of facts, values, principles, and loyalties that determine whether the posting of Lance Cpl Bernard's picture was ethical or not. In this video, I truly believe that the information given in this example was reasonable and accurate. In my view, Julie Jacobson understood the risks of having taken the wounded man's picture and realized that critics, including Bernard's parents would be upset about it. In my mind, I felt that she was only trying to do the right thing by having coverage and informing the public what is happening in the war. And though it may sound funny or irrelevant, there is a saying that "a picture is worth 1000 words". Ideally, images are used to convey messages.

I think Julie's actions were ethical, she literally understood and applied the potter box concept. She didn't want to hurt family or friends of Bernard, but she also valued her job as a photojournalist and had to give the truth. As she quoted in the video "With great respect and understanding to all the opposing arguments to publication, it is the responsibility of journalists to record and publish such images".

I think its safe to say that this video definitely earns a Socrates award because the information and examples were concise and fair.

Cliff Maroney said...

After viewing the videos, and subjecting them to the grueling guidelines listed above, I feel that "Photojournalism", is the most deserving of this year's Socrates. First off, I feel the group members deserve a lot of credit by taking on such a touchy subject. Sure, they simply fulfilled the requirement of covering an ethical dilemma, but by including the controversial photograph itself in their piece, they managed to practice what they preached; that the public deserves to see all aspects of an event, not just the one's that corporate news services deem as appropriate.

Secondly, I feel this group applied their decision making model to their incredibly well. By including details on the origin of the Potter Box itself, and incorporating the views of the multiple parties involved (from the family to Julie Jacobsen to Robert Gates), I felt this group truly grasped the essence of the incident and gave us thorough understanding, with pinpoint accuracy. In addition, by selecting the proper model and paring it with replete research, about both the event, and the box, I feel the group was able to arrive at an answer appropriate answer, consistent with the evidence as it was applied to the box (spoiler alert: they found that the AP's actions were ethical based on the fact that they believed in the public's right to know, by releasing the photo at the proper time and by expressing their regrets "while still honoring the fallen soldier").

Finally, production wise, I thought this group did a phenomenal job; identifying the theme early and presenting clear interesting and precise facts to the tune of a consistent, well thought out voice over that never strayed into monotony. All of these factors, have contributed to why I believe "Photojournalism" deserves Media Ethics' top prize, barely edging out The Artist. Oh wait, wrong awards.

Danielle Mattina said...

I thought that all the videos from 2011 and 2010 were nicely made videos. However, the one that I would award a Socrates to for “Best Video on an Ethics Case” is Photojournalism. I thought that the group did an excellent job explaining the Potter Box. They thoroughly explained each point in the box and they all made sense. This was an appropriate decision-making model to use because there were clearly facts, values, principles, and loyalties that were easy to pick out and that led the decision of whether it was ethical or not ethical. The group used multiple views in each point. They listed the journalists loyalties, Jacobson’s loyalties etc. Lastly, I really liked how the video was made. I like how they started off by showing crucial pictures, explaining what photojournalism is. I like how they explained exactly what the Potter Box was before just jumping into it. I liked how they looked at various viewpoints of each point like how I mentioned in the loyalties category earlier. I also liked how they used direct quotes from Jacobson. It gives us a better idea of why she did what she did. I liked how they had a narrator throughout the whole thing as well. Her voice was easy to understand and it was easy to pay attention throughout the whole video. This was also a very interesting topic.

Mili Ali said...

And the Oscar goes to [Insert Drum roll… Pause for a dramatic two, awkward minute]….

PHOTOJOURNALISM by Pamela Alvarez, Lindsey Claro, Michael Grob, and Andrea Vendegna for best video on an Ethics Case.

This is because Photojournalism had a very well structured out video of the topic. The start of the video has pictures of the topic discussed, which helps viewers understand the subject in a better perspective and also lets them think about their own experience on the topic. After the pictures, the presenters post a quote by James Nachtwey. They then documented past events on the topic and presented a case study on Barnyard’s death picture, when at war. They then took the case and discussed it using the potter box, in which they discussed the Principles using three ideologies: Aristotle’s Golden Mean, Code of Ethics, and Utilitarianism. They discussed and defined each idea in depth, taking account of all their surroundings, so come up with a reasonable conclusion. Each idea of supported by an image from an article, book or other media sources. This also gave the views the opportunity to make their own choices, as they went along with the video.

Angela Matua said...

I think the Socrates award should be awarded to Re-targeting ads. The video was clearly organized and the Potter Box was explained thoroughly. I was able to follow along with the announcer because the screen was not cluttered with tons of words. I think some of the other videos used too much text and I didn't know whether to concentrate on the speaker or the words.
The students also defined words such as flash cookies and zombie cookies. They even conducted a survey to gauge how many students actually knew what re-targeting ads was. This helps to show how uninformed the public really is about re-targeting ads and what advertisers can do with the information they receive from your computer.
They clearly outlined the facts,values,principles, and loyalties of the case. They also defined the categorical imperative and proved that marketers treat us as a means to a profit, which goes against the philosophy of the categorical imperative.
I also liked that they presented us with a possible solution for the problem. They didn't say that the opt-in opt-out solution was the only one but weighed the pros and cons and realized that the solution needs to be tweaked.
I enjoyed the skit that the group acted out in the beginning and end of the video. It drew me in to the video and made me curious as to how it tied in with their whole presentation. By using screen shots and minimal text I was able to follow along with what the speaker was saying and it was nice to have a visual to go along with the words.

Maddie Forrester said...

I would give the award to the Re-targeting Advertising group. The organization of the video was really well thought out and very creative. The way that they pulled you in to laugh in from the very beginning, made you interested in the subject at hand. It also made you relate with the customer shown. Then when they began to present the facts and the research, it was done in a manner that kept your attention as well as addressed the issue. They then defined terms that allowed the viewer to understand the concepts they were relating to.
They used the potter box effectively because they explained it first. They did not bombard you with it and then expect you to catch up. It really worked out very well in their favor. It truly evaluated all the elements that went into the decision and then the outcome clearly for the viewer even if they were unfamiliar with the method beforehand. It was clear what elements were applied and how they weighed in on the issue.
The fact that they used their own footage along with other coverage, it really enhanced their facts and point of view. It allowed the viewer to focus and to really take into account the importance of the discussion.

Katie said...


"Re-targeting ads" was an incredibly clear and organized presentation of the media dillema that re-targeting ads pose. It drew me in with the plight of this poor guy trying to avoid a neon scarf and related this easily understood scenario to the less easily understood issue of re-targeting ads. It then took the viewer step by step through the issue, explaining the vocabulary and what it means for the average person.
This group used the Potter Box to determine the ethicality of re-targeting ads. This was a very appropriate choice because the Potter Box usually deals with a dilemma between two parties, in this case internet companies and internet users. The group considered the facts, values, loyalties and principles involved in the issue of re-targeting and decided that this type of advertising is unethical.
The Potter Box was applied to the case of re-targeting ads in a very clear way. The group went through the decsion-making process step by step: facts, values, loyalties, principles. The presented each of these four steps after a clear heading, and used text and images on the screen in order to drive the most important points of the narration. They even used screen shots taken from their own computers, which made the abstract concepts involved in any ethical dilemma seem more relatable and down to earth.
The images in this video were very simple and illustrative of the argument. Although the argument was similar to that in the "Internet Info Tracking" video, I chose "Re-targeting ads" because of the simpicity, clarity and humor of the video's illustrative qualities.

Katie said...


"Death by Photography: A Kevin Carter Casey Study" was organized very well. It opens with a slideshow of many controversial works of photojournalism over which a narrator read a quote from Kevin Carter. The quote was puncutated with Carter's most infamous photograph, "Sudanese Girl." Then the video zoomed in on the Carter's case and its ethicality as seen through the lens of Gary Bryant's Photojournalism Ethical Model, a discussion that was enriched with quotes from Carter himself and other photojournalism experts.
The group used Gary Bryant's Photojournalism Ethical Model to determine the ethicality of Carter's actions. I think this was the most appropriate decision-making model to use because it applies directly to the field of photojournalism which is unique from journalism. They applied the four questions posed by Bryant to Carter's case and came to the conclusion that his decision to take the photograph known as "Sudanese Girl" was indeed ethical.
The students dealt with each question individually and sequentially. It was very clear which part of the decision-making model they were speaking about at a certain time and what their verdict was at the end. They decided that the moment caputed in "Sudanese Girl" should be made public, that it would not send the subject into further trauma because she was so young and potentially unaware her photograph was being taken, and that Carter was at an unobtrusive distance from the subject. However, the group felt that Carter did not act with a traditional sense of human compassion and sensitivity, the fourth aspect of Bryant's decision-making model. This did not result in Carter's decision being deemed unethical though, because he had been explicity instructed by the UN not to touch any of the Sudanese children, as the narrator pointed out.
This video dealt with a very serious situation in a respectful way. This freedom from gimmicky elements such as sound effects normally found in student videos gives it an artistic credibility. It simply told the story of Kevin Carter using many pertinent photographs of him, his work and the work of his contemporaries. I think that an effective storytelling device the group used in their video was repetition. They repeatedly showed a photograph of Carter smiling, often with narration of quotes about the atrocities he witnessed on top of them. I think this juxtaposition of the image of such a young, seemingly happy man and the story of his eventual fate helps communicate how powerful this story is.

Jena Lagonia said...

The Socrates in my eyes goes too the Re-Targeting Ads. I think that this was the best video because I learned new information and, it was presented in a way that was entertaining. I like how the video starts with the scene of the girl harassing the young man that was shopping by repeatedly asking him if he wanted to purchase a specific scarf. This was a great way to convey re-targeting ads, and was kind of metaphoric of how the internet kind of “stalks” your every move. Starting with an alluring introduction, the video then took a turn into facts about how the companies can use these “extra strength browsers” to see what their future employees are browsing on their computer.
The organization of the potter box was also well thought out and used correctly. The creator of the video acted as if the viewer never heard of the potter box, and made it very clear and presented the method in a very clear and concise matter. The conclusion that they came to was that the invasion of privacy makes people powerless in their decision to share their information, which I agree with.
I think artistically, this video was put together quite well. It was cleaver, and eye catching. Each image described what they were saying with a picture or words. Overall, I thought this video was informative, interesting, valid, and well organized. If conveyed an important message in a way that people will want to tune in and listen.

Carolyn Quimby said...

If I had to award a Socrates for “Best Video on an Ethics Case,” I would give it to “Photojournalism.”

The organization of the presentation was fantastic. The video immediately drew me in with its use of some of the most famous and history-defining photographs from the Vietnam War, including the image of the Saigon Police Chief shooting a Vietcong point-blank. The video continues into a quote by James Nachtwey which gives credit not only to the “strength of photography” as a medium, but also to the importance of war photography. A brief history of photojournalism in war, specifically the War in Afghanistan, gives context to the controversial story that presentation focuses on. The video is about the ethical implications of the Associate Press printing a photo of Lance Cpl. Bernard, 21, who was fatally wounded by a rocket-powered grenade, moments after the attack. The family, other news organizations, and the Secretary of Defense were all against printing the photo because they believed that it was in poor taste and also dishonored the soldier’s memory. I think that the group appropriately used the Potter Box ethical decision making model. The differing values, principles, and loyalties of the family, media, military, photography, and the Associated Press all need to be addressed, and the Potter Box is the best way to do this. The group used the Potter Box model in a clear, thorough, and effective way. They gave multiple examples in all four squares of the model, and included quotes from both the opposing and assenting sides. I also think that the juxtaposition of statistics, quotes, and, especially, photographs created a meticulous examination of the ethical concerns over the printing of Bernard’s photo.

Christine Nedilsky said...

My choice for the Socrates award is Re-targeting Ads. It was easy to understand, very organized, and kept my attention the entire time. I’m interested in how mass media and the internet are changing the world of advertising, and this video did a great job explaining how these new integrations are not always the most ethical.

This video does a great job of explaining exactly what re-targeting ads are and how companies are able to receive your information. It makes me uncomfortable to know that my private searches are being distributed publicly throughout the Internet.

I was impressed on the graphics used, the transitions, and the voice over. The man’s voice was clear and loud and didn’t talk too fast, or too slow. The potter box comparison was nicely done and the pictures were easy to follow. This video made the information easy to understand without dumbing down or excluding important facts.

If I had no previous knowledge on re-targeting ads or the potter box, I would have a pretty decent of them after this video. The message comes across that re-targeting ads are unethical because they use people as means to make a profit. I’m very impressed and think this video should be recognized for its excellence.

Kasara.Brandman said...

My choice for the Socrates Award for "Best Video on an Ethics Case" is Photojournalism by Pamela Alvarez, Lindsey Claro, Michael Grob, and Andrea Vendegna

I feel they deserve this award because they thoroughly explained the background of photojournalism by showing various images of defining moments that were captured thanks to Photojournalism. Without photojournalists, the key moments in history would not be captured so elegantly and we would lose a part of history because there would be no images to support the claims of historians. The images allow the story to be experienced, not simply heard.

I feel that the fact that the group chose to explain their claim of ethics with a Potter Box was very appropriate. They explained all aspects of the box and how the aspects of the report fit into the four categories of the model. It was clear that the group members did a lot of research on the subject and they were also able to present the research in a way that all people could understand. They did a good job on tying up all lose ends and left the viewer satisfied with the story; there were no questions left in my mind about the subject.

Overall, this video was attention grabbing, interesting, and informative. I felt drawn to the story and immediately wanted to know more instead of simply wanting to click the 'x' to close the window. These four students did a wonderful job and definitely gave their audience something to think about.

Natasha Lende said...

My choice for the Socrates Award goes to "Photojournalism" by Pamela Alvarez, Lindsey Claro, Michael Grob, Andrea Vendegna.

The organization of their video was very clear. They opened with a quote about the duties of a photojournalist and went on by giving background information on the ethical dilemma they were dealing with. They gave all the information of the parties involved and moved on to discuss the potter-box model. They were very thorough by giving background information and facts, supporting their argument with the potter-box model and providing a conclusion that swayed my opinion on the dilemma. They also ended by circling back to a quote about the duties of a photojournalist. The potter-box was very appropriate in this situation because it considered every angle of the situation. It provided the values, principles, facts and loyalties to each party involved and backed up their decision. Essentially the group explored the multiple opinions and views on the release of the war photo. Although there were many opinions to consider, the group's model provided the information to support the release the photo very well while making sure to consider all sides to their argument. The model was very clear and each category was easy to understand and move through. The presentation, appropriateness and clarity was very thorough and fluid. While it may have been hard to find artistic merit in making some of these videos, the group stayed true to the seriousness of their subject. I loved the opening and ending with a quote and they included a montage of pictures that included the family, photos of war, and the controversial photo itself. Overall I thought the video was very clear. Before they introduced the potter-box model and had just introduced the dilemma I was convinced that the Associated Press should not have released the photo. However after all the information they presented (especially the ethical principles) I realized releasing the photo perhaps did the most good for the most people. Any presentation that can sway my opinion is a successful one.

Kelsey B said...

My choice for the Socrates award would have to go to Re-targeting ads (2011).

In any form of presentation, the first few seconds is where you can either make or break it. This is the determining point of whether your audience will stay interested or drift away mentally. This group's creative approach set them apart from other videos, particularly the "Internet info tracking" one because they recorded their own video footage that illustrated their point in a relatable way. Oftentimes we don't realize that we are being bombarded with constant advertisements that are actually targeting specifically towards us. By having the girl constantly offer the scarf made it easier to empathize with the situation.

When they were explaining the Potter Box, they went straight to the point of how it was relatable, but also explained in a way that it was understandable by anyone who would watch the video, not just media ethics students.

Another factor I liked was that the video was easy to follow even with the visuals. For someone like me who gets easily distracted by visuals, I stop listening to what's being said and it becomes secondary. However, the way this group used their visuals and voiceovers made it easy to follow along while seeing the visuals to understand further.

Ryan Fasciano said...

I would give the Socrates Award to the video Media Ethics: Coverage of Political Terrorism. I felt that this was the best video compared to the others because I really felt they picked a topic that was neither black or white. The burning of the Quran and the Anti-Muslim thinking of todays world is quite a serious problem. I really loved the way they incorporated the SPJ code of ethics and explained them in the beginning of the film. It really looked like they applied this code of ethics to the subject they were talking about and let the viewer decide how to feel. It's a difficult topic to talk about, but the group did a fantastic job relaying the facts about the subject. The SPJ code of ethics was the best way to transfer the information. They used great quotes and pictures, and news coverage to cover the burning of the Quran sensation. It was interesting how Terry Jones was such a major media sensation in the midst of other, in my opinion, more important issues. The group identified this and used it to show how the media wanted to really push the issue of Anti-Muslim thoughts on the American public. I presume the American public wanted to hear this due to the terrorist attacks on the country years ago. Terrorism is a serious issue, but you can't necessary be Anti-Muslim just because of what certain groups do. This is what I believe, but this group did a great job letting the viewer know what happened and the moral dilemma at hand, but its up to the viewer to make their own opinion.

Felicity Pickering said...

3) a)The video is clearly structured. It briefly outlines the topic area Photojournalism and then goes into detail about the macro-details and micro-details of the situation. It explains graphically the Potter box and explains its history and methodology.
b) The Potter Box method was clearly the best model to apply to this situation.
c) The Potter Box method was applied successfully and fully. Each section, facts, values loyalties and principles. Was covered thoroughly and explained concisely.
d)The weakest point of the video is it’s artistic merit. Although it was clear and concise videos such as ‘A Converse Case Study’ were more visual exciting and relied less on just quotes.

Felicity Pickering said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
N01426918 said...

I chose "Death by Photography: A Kevin Carter Case Study" to win the Socrates Award.


The organization of the presentation was exquisite, and it made the video very easy to understand. First, the presentation quoted Carter in order to present the issue at hand. It then provided background information about Karter. Following this, the video outlined the ethical issues at hand. It then provided an argument for each issue. Following this, the video offered quotes from other people who have considered the issue. Finally, it brought all of these ideas together to announce a final standpoint: that Karter acted ethically.

The use of Gary O'Brien's checklist in determining the ethicality of Kevin Carter's photography was very appropriate because it dealt directly with the issue of photojournalism ethics.

The video was clear and complete. I did not have any further questions after viewing it. It was also very crisp--the background was black and the photos remained either black&white or faded/sepia throughout. The commentary was clear as well.


Is Media Ethics Education DOA?

It sounds like a joke Jay Leno would tell during his opening monologue on The Tonight Show. Hear about the graduate students at the prestigious journalism school? They got caught cheating on an ethics exam. Ha ha ha. Except that’s actually what happened at Columbia University in late 2006.

Students had been given 48 hours to sign onto a Columbia Web site to take the final exam in a required course called “Critical Issues in Journalism.” They then had 90 minutes to answer two essay questions.

The students were warned to not discuss the questions with each other, but apparently they did. As the headline over a story reporting the scandal put it, “Ivy J-Schoolers Fail Ethics, Ace Irony.”

No one admitted cheating despite pressure from the school’s administrators and pleas from classmates, who feared the scandal would damage the market value of their degrees. Meanwhile, the teacher of the course, New York Times columnist Samuel G. Freedman, refused to comment. But if the disgruntled posts on RateMyProfessors.com are any indication, his students hadn’t exactly been soaking up knowledge. “Maybe he could e-mail his ‘speeches’ to the students instead of making everyone suffer through the most wasted class in j-school. . . ,” one read.

There’s an old cowboy saying that goes, “When your horse dies, get off.” Journalism ethics education is a dead horse. Or else those aren’t vultures circling in the sky.

A Question for Socrates

The question of how ethics is learned, or even if it can be, is as old as Western philosophy. In Plato’s dialog Meno the title character asks, “Can you tell me, Socrates, whether virtue is acquired by teaching or by practice; or if neither by teaching nor practice, then whether it comes to man by nature, or in what other way?” Of course, Socrates, being Socrates, resists giving a definite answer. But we can’t. The sad fact is, students had better get an effective ethics education now or they may never.

Last summer I conducted an ethics workshop for some reporters and editors at the Poughkeepsie Journal, a small daily in upstate
New York owned by Gannett Co., Inc. The woman in charge of organizing the workshop had supplied us with several case studies to examine. I remember one dealt with a classic conflict of interest, a copy editor who moonlighted at a local radio station.

But what I remember most is the air of defeat that clung to the staff as we sat on hard plastic chairs in the break room discussing the cases. I could hear in their voices the bitterness and cynicism of employees forced to follow corporate policies they despised. Recently, for example, the paper had started running display ads on the front page and section fronts, a much more grievous ethical lapse, their mumbled asides suggested, than anything the case studies might have to offer.

I don’t want my students to ever wear the gray, defeated expression I saw that day on the faces at the Journal. But given the downward direction in which the media are moving, and fast, how in the world can I prevent it from happening?

Teaching Media Ethics by Telling Stories

A friend of mine who teaches at a big Midwestern university recounts in class the events of her first week as a reporter for the Minneapolis Tribune. She was sent to Duluth to cover Democratic presidential candidate Hubert Humphrey on the campaign trail. When they were introduced, Humphrey vigorously shook her hand. “Oh yes, Susan,” he said, “I read your stuff all the time.” He couldn’t have read her stuff, though; she hadn’t written anything yet. “Just a few words,” she explains to her students, “but words that taught this fledging reporter a great lesson about pols and the little lies they tell.”

I usually find occasion during the semester to quote I. F. Stone’s dictum, “Every government is run by liars and thieves, and nothing they say should be believed,” to make the same point. But Susan’s story makes the point better. That’s because it has existential force. Her story vividly captures in a way a secondhand quote can’t the realities of a reporter’s life.

Some might think telling “war stories” is a waste of precious class time. I’ve a colleague who didn’t want to fall into the “trap” of regaling students with stories ad nauseam (“which, let’s face it, is easier than teaching or grading,” he said). So one semester he kept track. When he toted it all up at the end, he was surprised that he’d used less than an hour - out of 45 – talking about his newspaper experiences. And yet, he admitted, it was his stories that students seemed to remember most.

“Stories teach us how to live,” Daniel Taylor said in his essay, “The Ethical Implications of Storytelling.” What he meant was that stories preserve our experience for contemplation and evaluation. Although not all stories carry a heavy message, there’s an entire category of stories, so-called “exemplary tales,” that are told to convey a moral.

Our war stories are potentially just such tales. They can provide evidence, in ethicist John Barton’s words, of “how real human beings live through various crises and trials and remain human.” My colleague who kept tabs on his storytelling has described his stories as cautionary. Most, he said, deal with “screwups I learned from.”

But sometimes the storyteller and the audience can’t agree on what exactly the moral of a story is.

When Susan was a cub reporter on the Tribune, she interviewed the Beatles, who were on their second tour of the States. She got into their hotel room by dressing up as a waitress in an ugly, mustard-colored uniform and accompanying an actual room service waiter upstairs. Ringo took one look at her little plastic name tag – it read “Donna Brown” – and snorted, “What kind of name is that?” The waiter nudged her in the side. “Tell them what you real name is,” he urged. She did, as well as her reason for being there. Rather than throw her out, the Beatles politely answered her questions. They even let her phone for a photographer. The next day her story ran on the front page, with a photo of John sitting at a table and looking up at her and laughing as she poured coffee in his cup. She still has a glossy print of that photo somewhere.

Many of Susan’s students think she’s nuts for not having the photo hanging up in her office. They also think she’s nuts for saying she’d never participate in the same kind of stunt today. To her celebrity-struck students, disguising herself as a hotel waitress to get an interview with the Beatles seems soooo cool. They lose all sight of the fact that it wasn’t a story of vital public interest that demanded undercover methods.

Susan intends one lesson when she talks about her hard day’s night, but her students, living in a paparazzi-saturated culture, draw another. “It may be a lost cause,” she remarked to me.

Or maybe not. Negotiations over what the point of a story is can be part of the point of the story. In the process of negotiating, we test different interpretations, try out different themes. This is helpful. This is educational. Lawrence Kohlberg, the Harvard psychologist famous for his research on the stages of moral development, contended that “the teaching of virtue is the asking of questions. . . not the giving of answers.” Stories don’t necessarily have to yield clear moral rules to be of value. It’s enough sometimes if they just give us something to think about.