National University




General Course Information for JRN420: Journalism Ethics

Course: JRN420 - Journalism Ethics
Textbook: For the correct edition of the textbook assigned to a specific class, go to: http://www.nutextdirect.com

Course Prerequisite(s):
Course Description: This course will examine how objectivity developed in American journalism and what criticisms exist against it. Students will consider real-life ethical scenarios that have faced newspaper journalists, TV reporters, established website journalists and blog authors. Students will discuss how they would have handled the situations and why. Discussions will also revolve around such issues as: the standard of objectivity and potential alternative systems and the influence of different journalistic formats on ethical choices.
Course Learning Outcomes:
  • Identify the elements of an ethical code
  • Describe how ethical standards are used
  • Classify the problems that result when ethical standards are breached
  • Identify the times reporters have parted with conventional ethics for a so-called higher purpose or examine instances when such a departure might be acceptable.
  • Differentiate between when sources are "going off the record" and when they know everything they say or do is fair material for a printed or on-air story.
  • Identify the special ethical circumstances for dealing with and interviewing crime victims, private people and public officials.
Specified Program Learning Outcomes:
  • MAJOR IN DIGITAL JOURNALISM
    • Apply copyediting rules and techniques for fact-checking.
    • Apply ethical principles of journalism during reporting, writing and producing.
    • Identify the elements of style and structure in news and feature stories.
    • Identify what constitutes news.
    • Recognize the legal boundaries of the First Amendment that balance the freedom and responsibility of the press.
    • Work in groups to publish an online or print news product.
    • Write focused news and feature stories for a variety of platforms.
    • Write in a variety of story forms, including news and feature.

Students with Disabilities:
Students seeking special accommodations due to a disability must submit an application with supporting documentation, as explained under this subject heading in the General Catalog. Instructors are required to provide such accommodations if they receive written notification from the University.

Writing Across the Curriculum:
Students are expected to demonstrate writing skills in describing, analyzing and evaluating ideas and experiences. Written reports and research papers must follow specific standards regarding citations of an author's work within the text and references at the end of the paper. Students are encouraged to use the services of the University's Writing Center when preparing materials.

The following website provides information on APA, MLA, and other writing and citation styles that may be required for term papers and the like: http://nu.libguides.com/citations

National University Library:
National University Library supports academic rigor and student academic success by providing access to scholarly books and journals both electronically and in hard copy. Print materials may be accessed at the Library in San Diego or through document delivery for online and regional students. Librarians are available to provide training, reference assistance, and mentoring at the San Diego Library and virtually for online or regional students. Please take advantage of Library resources:

URL: http://www.nu.edu/library.

Contact the Library:

  • RefDesk@nu.edu
  • (858) 541-7900 (direct line)
  • 1-866-NU ACCESS x7900 (toll free)

Use the Library Training Tools (on the Library Homepage) for additional help

  • Recorded class presentations
  • Tutorials & Guides (APA/MLA, Peer-Review, and more)

Plagiarism:
Plagiarism is the presentation of someone else's ideas or work as one's own. Students must give credit for any information that is not either the result of original research or common knowledge. If a student borrows ideas or information from another author, he/she must acknowledge the author in the body of the text and on the reference page. Students found plagiarizing are subject to the penalties outlined in the Policies and Procedures section of the University Catalog, which may include a failing grade for the work in question or for the entire course. The following is one of many websites that provide helpful information concerning plagiarism for both students and faculty: http://www.indiana.edu/~wts/pamphlets/plagiarism.shtml

Ethics:
Ethical behavior in the classroom is required of every student. The course will identify ethical policies and practices relevant to course topics.

Technology:
Students are expected to be competent in using current technology appropriate for this discipline. Such technology may include word processing, spreadsheet, and presentation software. Use of the internet and e-mail may also be required.

Diversity:
Learning to work with and value diversity is essential in every class. Students are expected to exhibit an appreciation for multinational and gender diversity in the classroom.

Civility:
As a diverse community of learners, students must strive to work together in a setting of civility, tolerance, and respect for each other and for the instructor. Rules of classroom behavior (which apply to online as well as onsite courses) include but are not limited to the following:

  • Conflicting opinions among members of a class are to be respected and responded to in a professional manner.
  • Side conversations or other distracting behaviors are not to be engaged in during lectures, class discussions or presentations
  • There are to be no offensive comments, language, or gestures