Students will explore, engage and develop a thorough understanding of the components and ethics related to journalism. Click on the Activities Tab to complete the lesson.
Students consider why journalism ethics exist and can start to analyze different news stories to determine how (and whether) journalism ethics are applied. Students understand the news and its purpose.
Students learn about the implications of journalism ethics in news reporting and begin to understand how trust works, how journalists develop relationships with sources, and the importance of holding public officials, decision-makers, and people with power accountable.
A set of moral principles based on standards of right and wrong, usually in terms of obligations, benefits to society, fairness, or specific virtues.
Journalism is the activity of gathering, assessing, creating, and presenting news and information.
Ethical journalism strives to ensure the free exchange of information that is accurate, fair and thorough. An ethical journalist acts with integrity. Ethical journalism should be accurate and fair. Journalists should be honest and courageous in gathering, reporting and interpreting information.
Belief that someone or something is reliable, good, honest, effective, etc.
Prejudice in favor of or against one thing, person, or group compared with another, usually in a way considered to be unfair.
An obligation or willingness to accept responsibility or to account for one's actions.
When violence strikes or when people argue about actions, events, ideas or policies, we care. Conflict and controversy attract our attention by highlighting problems or differences within the community or between groups. Sometimes conflict can be subtle and manifest as tension.
Students leverage technology to take an active role in choosing, achieving, and demonstrating competency in their learning goals, informed by the learning sciences. (ISTE)
Students recognize the rights, responsibilities and opportunities of living, learning and working in an interconnected digital world, and they act and model in ways that are safe, legal and ethical. (ISTE)
Students critically curate a variety of resources using digital tools to construct knowledge, produce creative artifacts and make meaningful learning experiences for themselves and others. (ISTE)
Students communicate clearly and express themselves creatively for a variety of purposes using the platforms, tools, styles, formats and digital media appropriate to their goals. (ISTE)
White board, chalkboard or other visual board
General Ethics: Prior to the main activity, students should have a good knowledge and understanding of ethics.
Estimated time: 10 min.
Use a KWL activity to help students express their preexisting knowledge of ethics and express any misunderstandings.
To reinforce what students learned after watching the video, ask students again (as a group or in small groups) “What are ethics?” and then follow up by asking, “How can you tell if someone is being ethical?” Write student answers on the board.
Optional follow-up discussion: Consider the word TRUST. What comes to mind when you hear this word?
Estimated time: 10 min
Optional: Have students watch this video on journalism ethics.
Estimated time: 15 min.
Estimated time: 20 min
Next, have students complete page two of the worksheet on their own or as homework to turn in as an assignment. Optional: Put them in groups to compare answers.
Estimated time: Additional 30 min
Ask students: What do you think are the top five ethical dilemmas of student journalists? What do you think the standard should be for each one?
Ask students: Are there other ethical points newsrooms should consider now?
Media literacy moment: In recent years, an increase in fake news sites -- sites that look like reliable news sites but were created with the intention to mislead and distort -- have made it critical for news consumers to understand how to verify news sites. Having a published ethics code is one way to suss out reliable sites from those that are not.
Research: Find your local newspaper or news site’s ethics code. Is it different from what you learned in this lesson? Does your school newspaper have an ethics code? Here’s a sample high school newspaper ethics code: http://studentpress.org/nspa/the-wheel-model-code-of-ethics/.
Estimated time to complete: 5 - 10 min
Self-reflection is important. Distribute copies of the Exit Ticket for Journalism Ethics.