Ethics and the Media – Case study

Assessment 2
Assessment task: Case study

Word count or equivalent: 3500 words


Assessment briefing:

In your assessments on this module you will be expected to:
1. Demonstrate your understanding of theories and concepts covered in the module.
2. Relate the theoretical texts discussed to their contexts.
3. Use materials which provide contextual information and/or critical opinions appropriately.
4. In the case study you should make sure you are answering the question posed by your title and not simply rehearsing arbitrarily-chosen information about a topic, author or event you happen to be using in your case study;
5. In your case study, provide a bibliography and references in an approved style (Harvard)
6. Write grammatically correct English.


Detailed guidelines for the case study

Remember to focus on the behaviour of media professionals with regard to the issue you have chosen, and on the ethical debates given rise to in the media coverage of that issue, and not the issue itself. For example if you are looking at the News of the World phone hacking scandal you need to describe and comment on the journalists involved and the ethical rules they may have violated.

Concentrate on the ethical issues involved. For example, regarding the issue you have chosen, did the journalist/advertiser/photographer/PR practitioner (or media company/publisher etc.) concerned behave ethically? If not what ethical rules did they infringe; what were the ethical principles at issue? What debates in Media Ethics are relevant to your chosen case study?

Avoid going into the broader issue behind the case study that you are describing, e.g. if you looking at the portrayal of women by advertisers do not argue that women are badly treated in the advertising industry. Instead stay focused on what the advertisers did and how their actions met or did not meet their professional ethical requirements, or link your discussion of the actions and requirements to approaches to media ethics in general.



Use a structure something like this:

• Introduction – briefly describe the event or incident that is the focus of your study

• Background – provide a detailed account of the event and relevant antecedents and outcomes; include samples from the media texts or images that you are concerned with

• Ethical principles and concepts – describe the ethical issues involved, refer to the relevant professional code of ethics and to Media Ethics (including, where appropriate, the philosophical ethics underpinning Media Ethics)

• Analysis – comment on whether you think the media professionals involved acted ethically or unethical, referring to the relevant ethical principles

• Conclusion – sum up your findings; what are the lessons that can be learned from your case study?

• Bibliography – list all your sources



These are the criteria that you will be assessed upon:

1. Focused and original work.
2. Written in the appropriate style.
3. Grammatically accurate; no spelling or punctuation mistakes.
4. Ability to structure, organise, analyse and process information.
5. All sources used are correctly attributed
6. Use materials which provide contextual information and/or critical opinions appropriately.
7. Provide a bibliography and references in an approved style (Harvard is generally recommended in the School);
8. Avoid copying or summarising the words or ideas of another person and passing them off, inadvertently or by design, as your own words or ideas.


Assessment briefing:
• your case study should adopt an appropriate method of referencing and should be written in a style appropriate for academic writing at undergraduate level
• you must supply a full bibliography of works consulted
• youmust clear your title with the module leader if you wish to develop your own topic or deviation from or variation on a given title
• must be at least one and a half-spaced in a minimum of 12 font
• Include your essay title at the top of the page
• Don’t forget page numbers
• Read your work several times and check for spelling and grammar
• Every argument or idea must be referenced, even if not a direct quote
• Film/book/television programme/newspaper/journal titles should be in italics


Learning outcomes you have to show on your assessment:
1. An understanding of the field of ethics, its philosophical and religious origins and its role in human society
2. A critical awareness of the ethical issues affecting media practice and society’s expectations of how media practitioners should behave when confronted with these issues
3. A working understanding of professional codes of ethics used by media industries as self-regulatory mechanisms and how these codes are applied in specific situations