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The Ethical Journalist

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The Build your own MA (BYOMA) short course asks challenging questions about 21st Century journalism and has some surprising answers. Journalism is a universal subject – so its ethical reach is vast. The same emotional issues that confront people in the tabloids often lurk in Tolstoy, but the popular press is often accused of manipulating emotions and reality.

Can journalists be more casual in their approach to being moral guardians, when pornography, beheadings, and other morally offensive material are just a few clicks away? The purpose of the course is to provide answers to knotty ethical problems that confront professional journalists. This will be done through case studies and applying moral reasoning to answer complex ethical questions.

The topics you cover will be influenced by your own experiences in the working environment, as well as those of your fellow students.

We will also look at a range of case studies and apply moral reasoning to explore ethical issues.

Key information

Next start date:

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Bournemouth University, Lansdowne Campus


2 day creative retreat followed by 7 weeks of online learning

Entry requirements:

This course is open to media professionals with an undergraduate degree and the required work experience in a relevant industry and to non-graduates with significant and relevant work experience who can demonstrate an ability to both complete and benefit from the course. If English is not your first language you'll need IELTS 7.0 (Academic) with minimum 6.5 in writing and 6.0 in the other 3 components or equivalent. For more information check out our International entry requirements.

Course details

Integral to our courses is the belief that people improve their professional practice by taking time out to reflect on and reassess what they currently do in the workplace and by sharing their real life experiences with the other like minded professionals. As a result each course is unique and geared to the experiences of the individuals that are participating, which may result in the course content altering slightly from course to course.

This short course will examine topics such as:

Even our most prestigious news organisations have impassioned rows over ethical issues:

  • Is it right to call the 9/11 bombers 'terrorists'?
  • Should audiences be shown the grisly reality of wars?
  • Why should a drive-by shooting in America grab bigger headlines than an earthquake in Asia?

However, there will be a few central themes, such as:

  • Covering war and terrorism
  • Is the way news is covered racist?
  • Moral panics and extraordinary popular delusions
  • Is media regulation a sham?
  • How conflicts of interests impact on truth-telling
  • Digital manipulation of reality.

We will also look at a range of case studies and apply moral reasoning to explore ethical issues.

How you study

Designed to be flexible to the needs of working professionals, this course minimises your time away from the workplace. You just need to join us for a two day creative retreat, typically a Friday and Saturday in Bournemouth which kick starts the course and gives you a chance to meet your fellow students and engage with the academic team. It will be an intensive two days but a valuable learning experience, giving you the opportunity to share ideas with like-minded professionals.

The retreat provides a firm foundation for the following seven weeks during which you will further develop your knowledge and explore the concepts in more detail - using our online learning environment and discussion forums. The supported online study helps to prepare you for the academic assignment (equivalent to 5000 words), the specific subject matter and content of which is determined by your interests and professional context. On successful completion of this assignment you will be awarded 20 academic credits (level 7 - Masters/Postgraduate level) which you can use to build your own tailored postgraduate qualification by undertaking other Build Your Own MA (BYOMA) media short courses.

With BYOMA courses available in the areas media management, creative media, journalism, computer animation, marketing communications and creative education, you can mix and match courses to suit your own needs and interests. Complete three of these courses (60 level 7 credits) to achieve a Postgraduate Certificate, six courses (120 level 7 credits) for a Postgraduate Diploma or go on to take the Masters Project (40 level 7 credits) and Exhibition (20 level 7 credits) for a full Masters (180 level 7 credits).

Additional information

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