For this assignment, you will use the code of ethics from either the Society for Professional Journalists or the Public Relations Society of America to justify your opinion on an issue happening in one of the two industries.
Read a few articles in a trade publication such as the Columbia Journalism Review, Editor and Publisher, PR Week or Ad Age. Most have areas that deal specifically with ethical issues or complex debates going on their respective fields right now.
For example, if you looked at the Columbia Journalism Review site last spring, you might have seen the article about covering Trump’s tweets.
Another example is the Pepsi ad in the ethics PowerPoint.
Then, take the issue at hand in the article and create your own opinion about it. Continuing the Trump example, I think the media should not cover Donald Trump’s use of Twitter unless it is extremely important information. I do not think the media should publicize his racist and inaccurate tweets.
In the Pepsi example, I think the advertising firm should not have used the protest paradigm as the foundation for the ad because it could be perceived as minimalizing legitimate civil rights concerns.
Finally, once you’ve come to an opinion, go to the code of ethics for the industry involved — in the Trump case journalism — and apply those codes to the issue. In the Pepsi case, you would use the PRSA codes. Justify your opinion with these codes. For example, in the Pepsi ad, I think the PRSA codes in conflict are free flow of information, fairness and honesty.
You are expected to write a two- to three-pages-long (2-3 pages) analysis of an issue within the industry of your choosing. Make sure you explain what is going on. Explain why you think the codes you choose are in conflict. You are expected to do extra research and cite that research properly. You may use first-person if you choose, but your opinion will be more professionally perceived if you remain in third-person perspective as much as possible.
You will be graded for your ability to justify and support your opinion using ethical backing from one of the two codes. You should use the code that is most appropriate to the field — SPJ is for journalism and TV news; PRSA is for public relations and advertising.