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Free Ethics Case Study: Spokesman-Review Outs Mayor Jim West

Remember when the Spokane Spokesman-Review had a computer forensic expert go to online chat rooms posing as a teenage male, which ultimately ended in the outing of the Spokane Mayor Jim West? Was it ethical? I have produced an in-depth case study aimed specifically for journalism and ethics classes to help their students see how difficult it is to make the right ethical decisions. The students will be asked to write a 600-word memo saying whether or not the Spokesman-Review editors acted ethically or not. Their decisions, and there is no equivocation allowed, will be informed by newspaper articles, interviews, opinion pieces and even a TV documentary. Steve Smith, editor of the Spokesman-Review then and now, has agreed to read some of the best memos. As the professor or instructor you can grade them as you like or even ask that the memo be longer. That’s your call.

This will work great for online classes and for face-to-face classes too.  Give it a try, let me know what you think.  If you want a quick three-minute overview, here is a screencast tutorial,  However, you will have to come back here to click on the case study itself.

Thanks to the Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation for the funding to help make this possible and to all the newspaper and other news organizations that gave permission to use their copyrighted materials.  

One Response to “Free Ethics Case Study: Spokesman-Review Outs Mayor Jim West”

  1. Chantelle Says:

    Great One…

    I must say, its worth it! My link! ,many Thanks….