Consulta de Guies Docents



Academic Year: 2022/23

1011 - Master in International Studies on Media, Power and Difference

31978 - The Ethics of Mediation: Difference and Power


Teaching Guide Information

Academic Course:
2022/23
Academic Center:
801 - Masters Centre of the Department of Communication
Study:
1011 - Master in International Studies on Media, Power and Difference
Subject:
31978 - The Ethics of Mediation: Difference and Power
Ambit:
---
Credits:
7.5
Course:
1
Teaching languages:
Theory: Group 1: English
Teachers:
Javier Ramon Vegas
Teaching Period:
First quarter
Schedule:

Presentation

This compulsory course of the M.A. in International Studies on Media, Power and Difference program provides a strong foundation of journalism ethics and media accountability in the digital age.

First, we will explore the normative role of journalism and we will see how this normative goal is increasingly threatened by a combination of profound challenges and provocations. Second, we will examine the ethical shortcomings that have challenged the core principles of deontology (truth, justice, freedom, and responsibility) and have affected citizens’ confidence in journalism. We will concentrate on different questionable practices, including: (1) the expansion of the ‘ASAP’ news culture; (2) disinformation, fabrication, and other threats to truth-telling; (3) sensationalism and click-baiting; (4) commercial interests and conflicts of interest; and (5) the lack of diversity and stereotyping for gender, race, national origin, and sexual orientation reasons. Alongside those shortcomings, we will also address other interferences that impact on professionals’ independence, ranging from the myriad restrictions to press freedom across the globe to violence against women journalists.

Third, we will analyze the concept of media accountability and its core components (transparency, self-regulation, and citizens’ participation). We will also learn about the range of instruments that aim to ensure that the media professionals fulfil their established responsibilities. Attention will be devoted both to traditional accountability instruments (ethical codes and stylebooks, specific guidelines and recommendations, press councils, letters to the editor, ombudspersons) and to those innovative mechanisms that have blossomed in the digital landscape (editorial blogs, media observatories, citizens’ and scholars’ blogs, comments, tools to report mistakes, tools to send material, online chats, and fact-checking platforms).

Associated skills

  • Understanding media institutions as mediation vehicles with an unavoidable ethical responsibility. Identifying the core values, standards, and principles that should guide journalism practice.
  • Reflecting upon the challenging landscape in which journalists operate nowadays. Understanding the cross-cutting forces and constraints that affect media practice in the digital age.  
  • Familiarizing with high-profile scandals involving unethical or questionable journalistic practices. Analyzing newer case studies from different platforms, countries and media landscapes.  
  • Learning how to apply ethics in everyday news work to avoid mistakes in newsgathering, writing and publishing.  
  • Rethinking how journalism should embrace inclusiveness and social justice.
  • Demonstrating in-depth knowledge about traditional and innovative Media Accountability Instruments (MAIs). Ability to critically examine the strengths, weaknesses, and limitations of such instruments.
  • Engaging and contributing to the current debates concerning the media production, representation, and consumption.
  • Demonstrating researching and analytical skills to write and present a short paper on media ethics and accountability.

Learning outcomes

By completing the course, students will acquire the associated skills mentioned above. The knowledge, skills, and attitudes developed throughout the course can be applied to professional practice, future academic projects (M.A. dissertation or doctoral thesis) and research tasks in public and private organizations.

Sustainable Development Goals

The Ethics of Mediation: Difference and Power course is aligned with the following Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs):

  • SDG 4. Quality education
  • SDG 5. Gender equality
  • SDG 10. Reduced inequalities
  • SDG 16. Peace, justice, and strong institutions

Prerequisites

No prerequisites required.

Contents

1. Introduction

  • Course overview and policies.
  • The normative role of journalism. Ethics and accountability as cornerstones of the ‘community of practice’ of journalism.
  • Principles of deontology: truth, freedom, justice, and responsibility.
  • Journalism nowadays: a challenging landscape. A crisis of legitimacy: the decline of trust in journalism and the problematic rise of news avoidance.

 

2. Deontological principle of truth

  • The expansion of the ‘ASAP’ journalism news culture and its impact on truth-telling.
  • Disinformation, fabrication, and other dubious methods: manipulation of material, recreation of reality, undercover and surreptitious recordings, plagiarism.
  • Sensationalism, click-baiting and metrics anxiety: journalism as a public service or journalism as a commodity?
  • Social media: an ethical minefield? The role of tech companies and platforms in the click-baiting news culture.
  • Class discussion and activities related to the principle of truth.

 

3. Deontological principle of freedom

  • Commercial interests and conflicts of interest
  • The relationship between journalists and their sources.
  • Political interferences and challenges to press freedom across the globe. Violence against women journalists.
  • Class discussion and activities related to the principle of freedom.

4. Deontological principle of justice

  • Lack of diversity and stereotyping for gender, race, national origin, and sexual orientation reasons.
  • Misrepresentation of other vulnerable and oppressed groups.
  • Media institutions as places of power: How can we make newsrooms more diverse?
  • Class discussion and activities related to the principle of justice. 

 

5. Deontological principle of responsibility

  • Invasion of privacy: public interest or public curiosity?
  • Reporting death and trauma. How can we do visual journalism ethically?
  • Ethical issues in the coverage of gender-based violence.
  • Class discussion and activities related to the principle of responsibility.

 

6. The concept of media accountability and the role of MAIs

  • The importance of media accountability to rebuilding trust in journalism.
  • Core dimensions: transparency, self-regulation, and citizens’ participation.
  • The role of traditional and innovative Media Accountability Instruments (MAIs) in the current and future media landscape.

 

7. Traditional Media Accountability Instruments

  • Ethics codes and in-house stylebooks
  • Specific guidelines and recommendations
  • Press Councils
  • Letters to the Editor
  • Ombudsmen/ Ombudswomen
  • Class discussion and activities related to traditional MAIs.

 

8. Innovative Media Accountability Instruments

  • Editorial weblogs and in-house podcasts
  • Media observatories and specialized publications in media criticism
  • Scholars’ and citizens’ blogs
  • Comments on websites and social media
  • Tools to report errors
  • Fact-checking platforms
  • Other innovative MAIs
  • Class discussion and activities related to innovative MAIs.

Teaching Methods

Following the EDvolució-Common Educational Framework, the course incorporates different active learning methodologies that place the student at the centerstage of the teaching-learning process. The course will combine presentations by the professor, individual and group activities, self-learning from readings, discussion of readings and case studies in the classroom, and presentations by students. Students are expected to dedicate out-of-class hours to readings and research and come properly prepared for class discussions. In addition, there will be tutoring sessions upon request to discuss and prepare the final paper. These sessions will be carried out outside class hours.

Evaluation

The assessment of the course is composed of two elements, as detailed below:

  1. Attendance and participation are crucial in this course. Students must attend the sessions and follow the materials, participate in class discussions and carry out the proposed activities and assignments, which account for the 70% of the final grade. Students must attend at least 80% of the sessions. More than 2 missed sessions must be properly justified. Whenever a student is absent for unknown reasons for more than two sessions, the instructor will penalize their final grade with -1 for each unexcused absence.
  2. In teams, students will produce a 2,000-2,500 word paper on a topic related to media ethics and accountability (30% of the final grade). The key findings of students’ work will be presented in the last session of the course. Presentations will be evaluated in terms of quality of content and materials, and ability to engage audience, present clearly, and respond to questions. Specific guidelines for this assignment will be uploaded in Aula Global and commented in class. 

Bibliography and information resources

Articles, lecture slides and other materials will be available from the instructor on the course Aula Global. Additional resources will be provided after each session.

 

Books

Alsius, Salvador, Fabiola Alcalá, Mònica Figueras, Marcel Mauri, Ruth Rodríguez, Francesc Salgado, Carles Singla, and Christopher Tulloch, 2010. The Ethical Values of Journalists. Field Research among Media professionals in Catalonia. Barcelona: Generalitat de Catalunya.

Christians, Clifford G., Mark Fackler, Kathy Brittain Richardson, and Peggy Kreshel. 2020. Media Ethics Cases and Moral Reasoning. 11th edition. New York: Routledge.

Christians, Clifford G., Theodore L. Glasser, Denis McQuail, Karl Nordenstreng, and Robert A. White. 2009. Normative Theories of the Media. Journalism in Democratic Societies. Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press.

Fengler, Susanne, Tobias Eberwein, Gianpietro Mazzoleni, and Colin Porlezza, eds. 2014. Journalists and Media Accountability: An International Study of News People in the Digital Age. New York: Peter Lang.

Fengler, Susanne, Tobias Eberwein, and Matthias Karmasin, eds. 2022. The Global Handbook of Media Accountability. Abingdon: Routledge.

Frost, Chris. 2011. Journalism Ethics and Regulation. 3rd edition. London: Longman.

Kovach, Bill, and Tom Rosenstiel. 2014. The Elements of journalism: what newspeople should know and the public should expect. 3rd edition. New York: Three Rivers Press.

Patching, Roger, and Martin Hirst. 2022. Journalism Ethics at the Crossroads. Democracy, Fake News, and the News Crisis. Abingdon: Routledge.

Pickard, Victor. 2020. Democracy without Journalism? Confronting the Misinformation Society. New York: Oxford University Press, 2020.

Price, Lada Trifonova, Karen Sanders, and Wendy N. Wyatt, eds. 2022. The Routledge Companion to Journalism Ethics. London: Routledge.

Usher, Nikki. 2021. News for the Rich, White, and Blue. How Place and Power Distort American Journalism. New York: Columbia University Press, 2021.

Zelizer, Barbie, Pablo J. Boczkowski, and C.W. Anderson. 2022. The Journalism Manifesto. Cambridge: Polity Press.

 

Articles and book chapters

Fengler, Susanne, Tobias Eberwein, Salvador Alsius, Olivier Baisnée, Klaus Bichler, Boguslawa Dobek-Ostrowska, Huub Evers, et al. 2015. “How Effective Is Media Self-Regulation? Results from a Comparative Survey of European Journalists.” European Journal of Communication 30, no. 3: 249–66. https://doi.org/10.1177/0267323114561009

Ferrucci, Patrick. 2019. “The End of Ombudsmen? 21st-Century Journalism and Reader Representatives.” Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly 96, no. 1: 288–307. https://doi.org/10.1177/1077699018805986

Ferruci, Patrick. 2020. “It is in the numbers: How market orientation impacts journalists’ use of news metrics”. Journalism 21, no. 2: 244–261. https://doi.org/10.1177/1464884918807056

Lauk, Epp. 2022. “Reminders of responsibility: journalism ethics codes in Western Europe”, in The Routledge Companion to Journalism Ethics, edited by Lada Trifonova Price, Karen Sanders, and Wendy N. Wyatt, 478–86. London: Routledge.

Mauri-Ríos, Marcel, Xavier Ramon-Vegas, and Ruth Rodríguez-Martínez. 2020. “Media Coverage of the Covid-19 Crisis: Recommendations and Proposals for Self-Regulation”. Profesional De La Información 29, no. 6: e290622. https://doi.org/10.3145/epi.2020.nov.22

Moreno-Gil, Victoria; Ramon, Xavier; Rodríguez-Martínez, Ruth. 2021. “Fact-Checking Interventions as Counteroffensives to Disinformation Growth: Standards, Values, and Practices in Latin America and Spain.” Media and Communication 9, no. 1: 251–263. https://doi.org/10.17645/mac.v9i1.3443

Moreno-Gil, Victoria; Ramon, Xavier; and Mauri-Ríos, Marcel. 2022. “Bringing journalism back to its roots: examining fact-checking practices, methods, and challenges in the Mediterranean context.” Profesional De La Información 31, no. 2: e310215. https://doi.org/10.3145/epi.2022.mar.15

Nilsson, Maria. 2020. “An Ethics of (not) Showing: Citizen Witnessing, Journalism and Visualizations of a Terror Attack”. Journalism Practice 13, no. 3: 259–276. https://doi.org/10.1080/17512786.2019.1623708

Ramon, Xavier, Andrew C. Billings, and José Luis Rojas Torrijos. “Interviews With Former ESPN Ombudsmen/Public Editors Kelly McBride, Robert Lipsyte, and Jim Brady”. 2019. International Journal of Sport Communication 12, no. 1: 28–35. https://doi.org/10.1123/ijsc.2018-0127

Sambrook, Richard. 2017. “Taking the Bait: The Quest for Instant Gratification Online Is Seriously Compromising News Reporting.” Index on Censorship 46, no. 1: 16–17. https://doi.org/10.1177/0306422017703588

Singer, Jane B. 2021. “Border Patrol: The Rise and Role of Fact-Checkers and Their Challenge to Journalists’ Normative Boundaries.” Journalism 22, no. 8: 1929–46. https://doi.org/10.1177/1464884920933137

Spiller, Ralf; Degen, Matthias; Kronewald, Elke; Guertler, Katherine. 2016. “Media watchblogs as an instrument of media accountability: An international survey.” Journal of Applied Journalism & Media Studies 5, no. 2: 151–176. https://doi.org/10.1386/ajms.5.2.151_1

Stephens (Fynes-Clinton), Jane, Rosanna Natoli, and Michele Gilchrist. 2021. “Too Close for Comfort: Journalists’ Ethical Challenges in Regional Australia.” Media International Australia 181, no. 1: 72–86. https://doi.org/10.1177/1329878X20967461

Usher, Nikki. 2014. “Immediacy. To what end?”, in Making News at The New York Times, 125–49. Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press.

 

Further resources

 


Academic Year: 2022/23

1011 - Master in International Studies on Media, Power and Difference

31978 - The Ethics of Mediation: Difference and Power


Informació de la Guia Docent

Academic Course:
2022/23
Academic Center:
801 - Masters Centre of the Department of Communication
Study:
1011 - Master in International Studies on Media, Power and Difference
Subject:
31978 - The Ethics of Mediation: Difference and Power
Ambit:
---
Credits:
7.5
Course:
1
Teaching languages:
Theory: Group 1: English
Teachers:
Javier Ramon Vegas
Teaching Period:
First quarter
Schedule:

Presentation

This compulsory course of the M.A. in International Studies on Media, Power and Difference program provides a strong foundation of journalism ethics and media accountability in the digital age.

First, we will explore the normative role of journalism and we will see how this normative goal is increasingly threatened by a combination of profound challenges and provocations. Second, we will examine the ethical shortcomings that have challenged the core principles of deontology (truth, justice, freedom, and responsibility) and have affected citizens’ confidence in journalism. We will concentrate on different questionable practices, including: (1) the expansion of the ‘ASAP’ news culture; (2) disinformation, fabrication, and other threats to truth-telling; (3) sensationalism and click-baiting; (4) commercial interests and conflicts of interest; and (5) the lack of diversity and stereotyping for gender, race, national origin, and sexual orientation reasons. Alongside those shortcomings, we will also address other interferences that impact on professionals’ independence, ranging from the myriad restrictions to press freedom across the globe to violence against women journalists.

Third, we will analyze the concept of media accountability and its core components (transparency, self-regulation, and citizens’ participation). We will also learn about the range of instruments that aim to ensure that the media professionals fulfil their established responsibilities. Attention will be devoted both to traditional accountability instruments (ethical codes and stylebooks, specific guidelines and recommendations, press councils, letters to the editor, ombudspersons) and to those innovative mechanisms that have blossomed in the digital landscape (editorial blogs, media observatories, citizens’ and scholars’ blogs, comments, tools to report mistakes, tools to send material, online chats, and fact-checking platforms).

Associated skills

  • Understanding media institutions as mediation vehicles with an unavoidable ethical responsibility. Identifying the core values, standards, and principles that should guide journalism practice.
  • Reflecting upon the challenging landscape in which journalists operate nowadays. Understanding the cross-cutting forces and constraints that affect media practice in the digital age.  
  • Familiarizing with high-profile scandals involving unethical or questionable journalistic practices. Analyzing newer case studies from different platforms, countries and media landscapes.  
  • Learning how to apply ethics in everyday news work to avoid mistakes in newsgathering, writing and publishing.  
  • Rethinking how journalism should embrace inclusiveness and social justice.
  • Demonstrating in-depth knowledge about traditional and innovative Media Accountability Instruments (MAIs). Ability to critically examine the strengths, weaknesses, and limitations of such instruments.
  • Engaging and contributing to the current debates concerning the media production, representation, and consumption.
  • Demonstrating researching and analytical skills to write and present a short paper on media ethics and accountability.

Learning outcomes

By completing the course, students will acquire the associated skills mentioned above. The knowledge, skills, and attitudes developed throughout the course can be applied to professional practice, future academic projects (M.A. dissertation or doctoral thesis) and research tasks in public and private organizations.

Sustainable Development Goals

The Ethics of Mediation: Difference and Power course is aligned with the following Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs):

  • SDG 4. Quality education
  • SDG 5. Gender equality
  • SDG 10. Reduced inequalities
  • SDG 16. Peace, justice, and strong institutions

Prerequisites

No prerequisites required.

Contents

1. Introduction

  • Course overview and policies.
  • The normative role of journalism. Ethics and accountability as cornerstones of the ‘community of practice’ of journalism.
  • Principles of deontology: truth, freedom, justice, and responsibility.
  • Journalism nowadays: a challenging landscape. A crisis of legitimacy: the decline of trust in journalism and the problematic rise of news avoidance.

 

2. Deontological principle of truth

  • The expansion of the ‘ASAP’ journalism news culture and its impact on truth-telling.
  • Disinformation, fabrication, and other dubious methods: manipulation of material, recreation of reality, undercover and surreptitious recordings, plagiarism.
  • Sensationalism, click-baiting and metrics anxiety: journalism as a public service or journalism as a commodity?
  • Social media: an ethical minefield? The role of tech companies and platforms in the click-baiting news culture.
  • Class discussion and activities related to the principle of truth.

 

3. Deontological principle of freedom

  • Commercial interests and conflicts of interest
  • The relationship between journalists and their sources.
  • Political interferences and challenges to press freedom across the globe. Violence against women journalists.
  • Class discussion and activities related to the principle of freedom.

4. Deontological principle of justice

  • Lack of diversity and stereotyping for gender, race, national origin, and sexual orientation reasons.
  • Misrepresentation of other vulnerable and oppressed groups.
  • Media institutions as places of power: How can we make newsrooms more diverse?
  • Class discussion and activities related to the principle of justice. 

 

5. Deontological principle of responsibility

  • Invasion of privacy: public interest or public curiosity?
  • Reporting death and trauma. How can we do visual journalism ethically?
  • Ethical issues in the coverage of gender-based violence.
  • Class discussion and activities related to the principle of responsibility.

 

6. The concept of media accountability and the role of MAIs

  • The importance of media accountability to rebuilding trust in journalism.
  • Core dimensions: transparency, self-regulation, and citizens’ participation.
  • The role of traditional and innovative Media Accountability Instruments (MAIs) in the current and future media landscape.

 

7. Traditional Media Accountability Instruments

  • Ethics codes and in-house stylebooks
  • Specific guidelines and recommendations
  • Press Councils
  • Letters to the Editor
  • Ombudsmen/ Ombudswomen
  • Class discussion and activities related to traditional MAIs.

 

8. Innovative Media Accountability Instruments

  • Editorial weblogs and in-house podcasts
  • Media observatories and specialized publications in media criticism
  • Scholars’ and citizens’ blogs
  • Comments on websites and social media
  • Tools to report errors
  • Fact-checking platforms
  • Other innovative MAIs
  • Class discussion and activities related to innovative MAIs.

Teaching Methods

Following the EDvolució-Common Educational Framework, the course incorporates different active learning methodologies that place the student at the centerstage of the teaching-learning process. The course will combine presentations by the professor, individual and group activities, self-learning from readings, discussion of readings and case studies in the classroom, and presentations by students. Students are expected to dedicate out-of-class hours to readings and research and come properly prepared for class discussions. In addition, there will be tutoring sessions upon request to discuss and prepare the final paper. These sessions will be carried out outside class hours.

Evaluation

The assessment of the course is composed of two elements, as detailed below:

  1. Attendance and participation are crucial in this course. Students must attend the sessions and follow the materials, participate in class discussions and carry out the proposed activities and assignments, which account for the 70% of the final grade. Students must attend at least 80% of the sessions. More than 2 missed sessions must be properly justified. Whenever a student is absent for unknown reasons for more than two sessions, the instructor will penalize their final grade with -1 for each unexcused absence.
  2. In teams, students will produce a 2,000-2,500 word paper on a topic related to media ethics and accountability (30% of the final grade). The key findings of students’ work will be presented in the last session of the course. Presentations will be evaluated in terms of quality of content and materials, and ability to engage audience, present clearly, and respond to questions. Specific guidelines for this assignment will be uploaded in Aula Global and commented in class. 

Bibliography and information resources

Articles, lecture slides and other materials will be available from the instructor on the course Aula Global. Additional resources will be provided after each session.

 

Books

Alsius, Salvador, Fabiola Alcalá, Mònica Figueras, Marcel Mauri, Ruth Rodríguez, Francesc Salgado, Carles Singla, and Christopher Tulloch, 2010. The Ethical Values of Journalists. Field Research among Media professionals in Catalonia. Barcelona: Generalitat de Catalunya.

Christians, Clifford G., Mark Fackler, Kathy Brittain Richardson, and Peggy Kreshel. 2020. Media Ethics Cases and Moral Reasoning. 11th edition. New York: Routledge.

Christians, Clifford G., Theodore L. Glasser, Denis McQuail, Karl Nordenstreng, and Robert A. White. 2009. Normative Theories of the Media. Journalism in Democratic Societies. Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press.

Fengler, Susanne, Tobias Eberwein, Gianpietro Mazzoleni, and Colin Porlezza, eds. 2014. Journalists and Media Accountability: An International Study of News People in the Digital Age. New York: Peter Lang.

Fengler, Susanne, Tobias Eberwein, and Matthias Karmasin, eds. 2022. The Global Handbook of Media Accountability. Abingdon: Routledge.

Frost, Chris. 2011. Journalism Ethics and Regulation. 3rd edition. London: Longman.

Kovach, Bill, and Tom Rosenstiel. 2014. The Elements of journalism: what newspeople should know and the public should expect. 3rd edition. New York: Three Rivers Press.

Patching, Roger, and Martin Hirst. 2022. Journalism Ethics at the Crossroads. Democracy, Fake News, and the News Crisis. Abingdon: Routledge.

Pickard, Victor. 2020. Democracy without Journalism? Confronting the Misinformation Society. New York: Oxford University Press, 2020.

Price, Lada Trifonova, Karen Sanders, and Wendy N. Wyatt, eds. 2022. The Routledge Companion to Journalism Ethics. London: Routledge.

Usher, Nikki. 2021. News for the Rich, White, and Blue. How Place and Power Distort American Journalism. New York: Columbia University Press, 2021.

Zelizer, Barbie, Pablo J. Boczkowski, and C.W. Anderson. 2022. The Journalism Manifesto. Cambridge: Polity Press.

 

Articles and book chapters

Fengler, Susanne, Tobias Eberwein, Salvador Alsius, Olivier Baisnée, Klaus Bichler, Boguslawa Dobek-Ostrowska, Huub Evers, et al. 2015. “How Effective Is Media Self-Regulation? Results from a Comparative Survey of European Journalists.” European Journal of Communication 30, no. 3: 249–66. https://doi.org/10.1177/0267323114561009

Ferrucci, Patrick. 2019. “The End of Ombudsmen? 21st-Century Journalism and Reader Representatives.” Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly 96, no. 1: 288–307. https://doi.org/10.1177/1077699018805986

Ferruci, Patrick. 2020. “It is in the numbers: How market orientation impacts journalists’ use of news metrics”. Journalism 21, no. 2: 244–261. https://doi.org/10.1177/1464884918807056

Lauk, Epp. 2022. “Reminders of responsibility: journalism ethics codes in Western Europe”, in The Routledge Companion to Journalism Ethics, edited by Lada Trifonova Price, Karen Sanders, and Wendy N. Wyatt, 478–86. London: Routledge.

Mauri-Ríos, Marcel, Xavier Ramon-Vegas, and Ruth Rodríguez-Martínez. 2020. “Media Coverage of the Covid-19 Crisis: Recommendations and Proposals for Self-Regulation”. Profesional De La Información 29, no. 6: e290622. https://doi.org/10.3145/epi.2020.nov.22

Moreno-Gil, Victoria; Ramon, Xavier; Rodríguez-Martínez, Ruth. 2021. “Fact-Checking Interventions as Counteroffensives to Disinformation Growth: Standards, Values, and Practices in Latin America and Spain.” Media and Communication 9, no. 1: 251–263. https://doi.org/10.17645/mac.v9i1.3443

Moreno-Gil, Victoria; Ramon, Xavier; and Mauri-Ríos, Marcel. 2022. “Bringing journalism back to its roots: examining fact-checking practices, methods, and challenges in the Mediterranean context.” Profesional De La Información 31, no. 2: e310215. https://doi.org/10.3145/epi.2022.mar.15

Nilsson, Maria. 2020. “An Ethics of (not) Showing: Citizen Witnessing, Journalism and Visualizations of a Terror Attack”. Journalism Practice 13, no. 3: 259–276. https://doi.org/10.1080/17512786.2019.1623708

Ramon, Xavier, Andrew C. Billings, and José Luis Rojas Torrijos. “Interviews With Former ESPN Ombudsmen/Public Editors Kelly McBride, Robert Lipsyte, and Jim Brady”. 2019. International Journal of Sport Communication 12, no. 1: 28–35. https://doi.org/10.1123/ijsc.2018-0127

Sambrook, Richard. 2017. “Taking the Bait: The Quest for Instant Gratification Online Is Seriously Compromising News Reporting.” Index on Censorship 46, no. 1: 16–17. https://doi.org/10.1177/0306422017703588

Singer, Jane B. 2021. “Border Patrol: The Rise and Role of Fact-Checkers and Their Challenge to Journalists’ Normative Boundaries.” Journalism 22, no. 8: 1929–46. https://doi.org/10.1177/1464884920933137

Spiller, Ralf; Degen, Matthias; Kronewald, Elke; Guertler, Katherine. 2016. “Media watchblogs as an instrument of media accountability: An international survey.” Journal of Applied Journalism & Media Studies 5, no. 2: 151–176. https://doi.org/10.1386/ajms.5.2.151_1

Stephens (Fynes-Clinton), Jane, Rosanna Natoli, and Michele Gilchrist. 2021. “Too Close for Comfort: Journalists’ Ethical Challenges in Regional Australia.” Media International Australia 181, no. 1: 72–86. https://doi.org/10.1177/1329878X20967461

Usher, Nikki. 2014. “Immediacy. To what end?”, in Making News at The New York Times, 125–49. Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press.

 

Further resources

 


Academic Year: 2022/23

1011 - Master in International Studies on Media, Power and Difference

31978 - The Ethics of Mediation: Difference and Power


Información de la Guía Docente

Academic Course:
2022/23
Academic Center:
801 - Masters Centre of the Department of Communication
Study:
1011 - Master in International Studies on Media, Power and Difference
Subject:
31978 - The Ethics of Mediation: Difference and Power
Ambit:
---
Credits:
7.5
Course:
1
Teaching languages:
Theory: Group 1: English
Teachers:
Javier Ramon Vegas
Teaching Period:
First quarter
Schedule:

Presentation

This compulsory course of the M.A. in International Studies on Media, Power and Difference program provides a strong foundation of journalism ethics and media accountability in the digital age.

First, we will explore the normative role of journalism and we will see how this normative goal is increasingly threatened by a combination of profound challenges and provocations. Second, we will examine the ethical shortcomings that have challenged the core principles of deontology (truth, justice, freedom, and responsibility) and have affected citizens’ confidence in journalism. We will concentrate on different questionable practices, including: (1) the expansion of the ‘ASAP’ news culture; (2) disinformation, fabrication, and other threats to truth-telling; (3) sensationalism and click-baiting; (4) commercial interests and conflicts of interest; and (5) the lack of diversity and stereotyping for gender, race, national origin, and sexual orientation reasons. Alongside those shortcomings, we will also address other interferences that impact on professionals’ independence, ranging from the myriad restrictions to press freedom across the globe to violence against women journalists.

Third, we will analyze the concept of media accountability and its core components (transparency, self-regulation, and citizens’ participation). We will also learn about the range of instruments that aim to ensure that the media professionals fulfil their established responsibilities. Attention will be devoted both to traditional accountability instruments (ethical codes and stylebooks, specific guidelines and recommendations, press councils, letters to the editor, ombudspersons) and to those innovative mechanisms that have blossomed in the digital landscape (editorial blogs, media observatories, citizens’ and scholars’ blogs, comments, tools to report mistakes, tools to send material, online chats, and fact-checking platforms).

Associated skills

  • Understanding media institutions as mediation vehicles with an unavoidable ethical responsibility. Identifying the core values, standards, and principles that should guide journalism practice.
  • Reflecting upon the challenging landscape in which journalists operate nowadays. Understanding the cross-cutting forces and constraints that affect media practice in the digital age.  
  • Familiarizing with high-profile scandals involving unethical or questionable journalistic practices. Analyzing newer case studies from different platforms, countries and media landscapes.  
  • Learning how to apply ethics in everyday news work to avoid mistakes in newsgathering, writing and publishing.  
  • Rethinking how journalism should embrace inclusiveness and social justice.
  • Demonstrating in-depth knowledge about traditional and innovative Media Accountability Instruments (MAIs). Ability to critically examine the strengths, weaknesses, and limitations of such instruments.
  • Engaging and contributing to the current debates concerning the media production, representation, and consumption.
  • Demonstrating researching and analytical skills to write and present a short paper on media ethics and accountability.

Learning outcomes

By completing the course, students will acquire the associated skills mentioned above. The knowledge, skills, and attitudes developed throughout the course can be applied to professional practice, future academic projects (M.A. dissertation or doctoral thesis) and research tasks in public and private organizations.

Sustainable Development Goals

The Ethics of Mediation: Difference and Power course is aligned with the following Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs):

  • SDG 4. Quality education
  • SDG 5. Gender equality
  • SDG 10. Reduced inequalities
  • SDG 16. Peace, justice, and strong institutions

Prerequisites

No prerequisites required.

Contents

1. Introduction

  • Course overview and policies.
  • The normative role of journalism. Ethics and accountability as cornerstones of the ‘community of practice’ of journalism.
  • Principles of deontology: truth, freedom, justice, and responsibility.
  • Journalism nowadays: a challenging landscape. A crisis of legitimacy: the decline of trust in journalism and the problematic rise of news avoidance.

 

2. Deontological principle of truth

  • The expansion of the ‘ASAP’ journalism news culture and its impact on truth-telling.
  • Disinformation, fabrication, and other dubious methods: manipulation of material, recreation of reality, undercover and surreptitious recordings, plagiarism.
  • Sensationalism, click-baiting and metrics anxiety: journalism as a public service or journalism as a commodity?
  • Social media: an ethical minefield? The role of tech companies and platforms in the click-baiting news culture.
  • Class discussion and activities related to the principle of truth.

 

3. Deontological principle of freedom

  • Commercial interests and conflicts of interest
  • The relationship between journalists and their sources.
  • Political interferences and challenges to press freedom across the globe. Violence against women journalists.
  • Class discussion and activities related to the principle of freedom.

4. Deontological principle of justice

  • Lack of diversity and stereotyping for gender, race, national origin, and sexual orientation reasons.
  • Misrepresentation of other vulnerable and oppressed groups.
  • Media institutions as places of power: How can we make newsrooms more diverse?
  • Class discussion and activities related to the principle of justice. 

 

5. Deontological principle of responsibility

  • Invasion of privacy: public interest or public curiosity?
  • Reporting death and trauma. How can we do visual journalism ethically?
  • Ethical issues in the coverage of gender-based violence.
  • Class discussion and activities related to the principle of responsibility.

 

6. The concept of media accountability and the role of MAIs

  • The importance of media accountability to rebuilding trust in journalism.
  • Core dimensions: transparency, self-regulation, and citizens’ participation.
  • The role of traditional and innovative Media Accountability Instruments (MAIs) in the current and future media landscape.

 

7. Traditional Media Accountability Instruments

  • Ethics codes and in-house stylebooks
  • Specific guidelines and recommendations
  • Press Councils
  • Letters to the Editor
  • Ombudsmen/ Ombudswomen
  • Class discussion and activities related to traditional MAIs.

 

8. Innovative Media Accountability Instruments

  • Editorial weblogs and in-house podcasts
  • Media observatories and specialized publications in media criticism
  • Scholars’ and citizens’ blogs
  • Comments on websites and social media
  • Tools to report errors
  • Fact-checking platforms
  • Other innovative MAIs
  • Class discussion and activities related to innovative MAIs.

Teaching Methods

Following the EDvolució-Common Educational Framework, the course incorporates different active learning methodologies that place the student at the centerstage of the teaching-learning process. The course will combine presentations by the professor, individual and group activities, self-learning from readings, discussion of readings and case studies in the classroom, and presentations by students. Students are expected to dedicate out-of-class hours to readings and research and come properly prepared for class discussions. In addition, there will be tutoring sessions upon request to discuss and prepare the final paper. These sessions will be carried out outside class hours.

Evaluation

The assessment of the course is composed of two elements, as detailed below:

  1. Attendance and participation are crucial in this course. Students must attend the sessions and follow the materials, participate in class discussions and carry out the proposed activities and assignments, which account for the 70% of the final grade. Students must attend at least 80% of the sessions. More than 2 missed sessions must be properly justified. Whenever a student is absent for unknown reasons for more than two sessions, the instructor will penalize their final grade with -1 for each unexcused absence.
  2. In teams, students will produce a 2,000-2,500 word paper on a topic related to media ethics and accountability (30% of the final grade). The key findings of students’ work will be presented in the last session of the course. Presentations will be evaluated in terms of quality of content and materials, and ability to engage audience, present clearly, and respond to questions. Specific guidelines for this assignment will be uploaded in Aula Global and commented in class. 

Bibliography and information resources

Articles, lecture slides and other materials will be available from the instructor on the course Aula Global. Additional resources will be provided after each session.

 

Books

Alsius, Salvador, Fabiola Alcalá, Mònica Figueras, Marcel Mauri, Ruth Rodríguez, Francesc Salgado, Carles Singla, and Christopher Tulloch, 2010. The Ethical Values of Journalists. Field Research among Media professionals in Catalonia. Barcelona: Generalitat de Catalunya.

Christians, Clifford G., Mark Fackler, Kathy Brittain Richardson, and Peggy Kreshel. 2020. Media Ethics Cases and Moral Reasoning. 11th edition. New York: Routledge.

Christians, Clifford G., Theodore L. Glasser, Denis McQuail, Karl Nordenstreng, and Robert A. White. 2009. Normative Theories of the Media. Journalism in Democratic Societies. Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press.

Fengler, Susanne, Tobias Eberwein, Gianpietro Mazzoleni, and Colin Porlezza, eds. 2014. Journalists and Media Accountability: An International Study of News People in the Digital Age. New York: Peter Lang.

Fengler, Susanne, Tobias Eberwein, and Matthias Karmasin, eds. 2022. The Global Handbook of Media Accountability. Abingdon: Routledge.

Frost, Chris. 2011. Journalism Ethics and Regulation. 3rd edition. London: Longman.

Kovach, Bill, and Tom Rosenstiel. 2014. The Elements of journalism: what newspeople should know and the public should expect. 3rd edition. New York: Three Rivers Press.

Patching, Roger, and Martin Hirst. 2022. Journalism Ethics at the Crossroads. Democracy, Fake News, and the News Crisis. Abingdon: Routledge.

Pickard, Victor. 2020. Democracy without Journalism? Confronting the Misinformation Society. New York: Oxford University Press, 2020.

Price, Lada Trifonova, Karen Sanders, and Wendy N. Wyatt, eds. 2022. The Routledge Companion to Journalism Ethics. London: Routledge.

Usher, Nikki. 2021. News for the Rich, White, and Blue. How Place and Power Distort American Journalism. New York: Columbia University Press, 2021.

Zelizer, Barbie, Pablo J. Boczkowski, and C.W. Anderson. 2022. The Journalism Manifesto. Cambridge: Polity Press.

 

Articles and book chapters

Fengler, Susanne, Tobias Eberwein, Salvador Alsius, Olivier Baisnée, Klaus Bichler, Boguslawa Dobek-Ostrowska, Huub Evers, et al. 2015. “How Effective Is Media Self-Regulation? Results from a Comparative Survey of European Journalists.” European Journal of Communication 30, no. 3: 249–66. https://doi.org/10.1177/0267323114561009

Ferrucci, Patrick. 2019. “The End of Ombudsmen? 21st-Century Journalism and Reader Representatives.” Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly 96, no. 1: 288–307. https://doi.org/10.1177/1077699018805986

Ferruci, Patrick. 2020. “It is in the numbers: How market orientation impacts journalists’ use of news metrics”. Journalism 21, no. 2: 244–261. https://doi.org/10.1177/1464884918807056

Lauk, Epp. 2022. “Reminders of responsibility: journalism ethics codes in Western Europe”, in The Routledge Companion to Journalism Ethics, edited by Lada Trifonova Price, Karen Sanders, and Wendy N. Wyatt, 478–86. London: Routledge.

Mauri-Ríos, Marcel, Xavier Ramon-Vegas, and Ruth Rodríguez-Martínez. 2020. “Media Coverage of the Covid-19 Crisis: Recommendations and Proposals for Self-Regulation”. Profesional De La Información 29, no. 6: e290622. https://doi.org/10.3145/epi.2020.nov.22

Moreno-Gil, Victoria; Ramon, Xavier; Rodríguez-Martínez, Ruth. 2021. “Fact-Checking Interventions as Counteroffensives to Disinformation Growth: Standards, Values, and Practices in Latin America and Spain.” Media and Communication 9, no. 1: 251–263. https://doi.org/10.17645/mac.v9i1.3443

Moreno-Gil, Victoria; Ramon, Xavier; and Mauri-Ríos, Marcel. 2022. “Bringing journalism back to its roots: examining fact-checking practices, methods, and challenges in the Mediterranean context.” Profesional De La Información 31, no. 2: e310215. https://doi.org/10.3145/epi.2022.mar.15

Nilsson, Maria. 2020. “An Ethics of (not) Showing: Citizen Witnessing, Journalism and Visualizations of a Terror Attack”. Journalism Practice 13, no. 3: 259–276. https://doi.org/10.1080/17512786.2019.1623708

Ramon, Xavier, Andrew C. Billings, and José Luis Rojas Torrijos. “Interviews With Former ESPN Ombudsmen/Public Editors Kelly McBride, Robert Lipsyte, and Jim Brady”. 2019. International Journal of Sport Communication 12, no. 1: 28–35. https://doi.org/10.1123/ijsc.2018-0127

Sambrook, Richard. 2017. “Taking the Bait: The Quest for Instant Gratification Online Is Seriously Compromising News Reporting.” Index on Censorship 46, no. 1: 16–17. https://doi.org/10.1177/0306422017703588

Singer, Jane B. 2021. “Border Patrol: The Rise and Role of Fact-Checkers and Their Challenge to Journalists’ Normative Boundaries.” Journalism 22, no. 8: 1929–46. https://doi.org/10.1177/1464884920933137

Spiller, Ralf; Degen, Matthias; Kronewald, Elke; Guertler, Katherine. 2016. “Media watchblogs as an instrument of media accountability: An international survey.” Journal of Applied Journalism & Media Studies 5, no. 2: 151–176. https://doi.org/10.1386/ajms.5.2.151_1

Stephens (Fynes-Clinton), Jane, Rosanna Natoli, and Michele Gilchrist. 2021. “Too Close for Comfort: Journalists’ Ethical Challenges in Regional Australia.” Media International Australia 181, no. 1: 72–86. https://doi.org/10.1177/1329878X20967461

Usher, Nikki. 2014. “Immediacy. To what end?”, in Making News at The New York Times, 125–49. Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press.

 

Further resources