A Case Study in Ethics in Journalism

Your Task for This Case Study

Here is your task:

You are one of five judges in a national journalism contest.

Before the judging has begun, a debate has arisen about whether the Spokane Spokesman-Review acted ethically in its reporting techniques in its series of stories entitled: Jim West: A Spokesman-Review Investigative Report. We need to have each judge’s decision on how we might proceed.

Please provide us with a 600-word memo answering the question: Did the Spokane Spokesman-Review act ethically in its reporting techniques in its series entitled: Jim West: A Spokesman-Review Investigative Report?

We are supplying you with a dossier of information so that you can make an informed decision that pointedly and conclusively explains your position on whether it acted ethically or not. We understand that there are two sides to every debate and we want you to know both sides, but in the end we must make a decision; so, we need a final well-informed and well-thought-out answer from you asserting that either it was or was not ethical. Remember, we have a decision to be made, so no equivocating. Tell us if it was or was not ethical and tell us why.

An aside: We know that the University of Oregon awarded The Spokesman-Review its 2006 Payne Awards for Ethics in Journalism based in part on this series in question, but ours is an independent contest and demands independent thinking on your part.

Writing Tips

Need help in argument writing? Here are two online sources of information:

  • An excellent source is the Owl At Purdue’s section: Establishing Arguments.
  • The Purdue University Writing Lab offers a quick Powerpoint entitled: Organizing Your Argument.

    © 2006 Leonard Witt