What Would You Do? Media Ethics Scenarios
This activity helps students apply journalism standards of accuracy, fairness and clarity in deciding how to report the news.
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- Media Ethics
1. Tell students: Journalists strive to be accurate, fair and clear in their reporting. News organizations and professional groups have codes to guide ethical behavior.
- Note: If time and desired, go over the Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics.
2. Individually or in small groups, have students read each scenario on the worksheet and answer the questions. How would they handle the situation if they were editors of their school newspaper?
- Media Ethics Scenarios worksheet (download), one per student or small group
- Scenarios teacher key (download)
- Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics (optional, download)
Have students or groups share their decisions and reasoning. Use the answer key to help guide the discussion.
- Are there disagreements? If so, why?
- What specific standards guided their decisions?
- Did personal and professional ethics clash in any of their decisions?
Common Core State Standards: CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.1Prepare for and participate effectively in a range of conversations and collaborations with diverse partners, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.
National Council of Teachers of English: NCTE.12Students use spoken, written, and visual language to accomplish their own purposes (e.g., for learning, enjoyment, persuasion, and the exchange of information).