DEPARTMENT OF COMMUNICATION  
STATE UNIVERSITY COLLEGE
FREDONIA, NEW YORK

CM 420
Media Law and Ethics
Fall 2000
9:00-9:50 MWF
McEwen 303

 

INSTRUCTOR

Ted Schwalbe
Office: McEwen 316
Telephone: 673-3825
Office Hours: 2-3 M,W,Th,F or by appt.
e-mail: schwalbe@fredonia.edu
course web page:http://www.fredonia.edu/department/communication/schwalbe/cm420.htm

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ABOUT THE COURSE

This course will introduce students to the study of legal and ethical issues in the media. Students will develop an understanding and appreciation of these issues and the ability to analyze the important legal and ethical issues involved with the mass media industry.

COURSE GOALS

 

REQUIRED TEXTS

  1. Don R. Pember, Mass Media Law, 2000 edition

  2. Broadcasting and Cable - 13 weeks - $22.25

Reserved Readings

Additional readings and articles may be put on reserve.
Also on reserve - copies of good policy options papers

Useful Websites for Course

ATTENDANCE

You are expected to attend all classes. 2 points will be deducted from your final average for each unexcused absence. Verifiable and legitimate absences in which I am notified ahead of time will not result in lost points. You are responsible for all worked missed as well as handing in any assignments due.

You are expected to participate in class discussions and activities. A portion of your final grade reflects participation. You will be expected to have read assigned material prior to class.

All assignments are due at the beginning of class assigned. No assignments are accepted late.

ACADEMIC HONESTY

As the University Catalog states, academic dishonesty will not be tolerated. Examples are given in the catalog. Any instance will result in a zero grade for that assignment. A second occurrence will result in a failing grade for the course and possible expulsion from the University.

GRADING

Exams-4

28%

Final Exam

15%

Participation

10%

Assignments

21%

Term Paper

26% (3 parts 7, 7, 12)

Final grades will be based on your composite average.

A90+C70-73
A-87-89C-67-69
B+84-86D+64-66
B80-83D60-63
B-77-79D-57-59
C+74-76Fless than 57

GENERAL COURSE OUTLINE AND READING

TOPICS                                                     TEXT READINGS

I. Introduction to the American Legal System
   A. Lawmakers and Policymakers			   1
   B. The Court System
   C. Legal Research

II. Introduction to Ethics
   A. Media Ethics
   B. Basic Ethical Theory
         1. Historical Perspectives on Ethics
         2. The Potter Box

III. The First Amendment and Freedom of Speech
   A. The First Amendment					2,3
   B. Prior Restraint					
   C. Obscenity							      13
   
IV. Protection from Freedom of Speech
   A. Defamation of Character
         1. Libel and Slander					    4-6
         2. Defenses Against Defamation
   B. Privacy							        7,8
   
V. News
   A. Getting Information					    9
   B. Free Press/Fair Trial					    11,12
   C. Source Protection - Shield Laws			     10
   D. Ethical Issues in News	
         1. Business Pressures
         2. Truth telling and Objectivity
         3. Social Justice
         4. Sources and Reporters
         5. Privacy

VI. Advertising
   A. Regulation of Advertising				          15
   B. Ethical Issues in Advertising
         1. Special Audiences
         2. Truth telling
         3. Public Relations

VII. Entertainment
   A. Copyright Laws						    14
   B. Content Regulation
   C. Ethical Issues in Entertainment
         1. Violence
         2. Offensive Material
         3. Censorship
         4. Profits and Public Trust

VIII. Special Regulations for Broadcasting
   A. Licensing							        16
   B. Content							         17
        

DISCLAIMER - any elements of this syllabi are subject to change by the instructor.

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