Thinking Clearly: Cases in Journalistic Decision-Making

Thinking Clearly: Cases in Journalistic Decision-Making

Thinking Clearly: Cases in Journalistic Decision-Making

Thinking Clearly: Cases in Journalistic Decision-Making

Synopsis

Written by leading professional journalists and classroom-tested at schools of journalism, Thinking Clearly is designed to provoke conversation about the issues that shape the production and presentation of the news in the twenty-first century. These case studies depict real-life moments when people working in the news had to make critical decisions. Bearing on questions of craft, ethics, competition, and commerce, they cover a range of topics -- the commercial imperatives of newsroom culture, standards of verification, the competition of public and private interests, including the question of privacy -- in a variety of key episodes: Watergate, the Richard Jewell case, John McCain's 2000 presidential campaign, and the Columbine shooting, among others.

Excerpt

James W. Carey

The case study method of inquiry, and the Socratic dialogue that goes along with it, have a long and distinguished history. We generally identify them today with training in the law. Indeed, the subject matter of the law comes predigested in the form of cases, and thus the method fits as naturally into the classroom as into the courtroom. the case study method has also been used in schools of business, where the cases must be created (sometimes hypothetically, but more often by virtue of the pioneering efforts of the Harvard Business School) through the distillation of actual commercial and industrial experiences into a realistic case format.

Yet the case study method has not been widely used in journalism schools, with the exception of teaching press or communications law and, to a lesser extent, in classes in advertising or media management. One area that lends itself naturally to the case study method and Socratic dialogue is the teaching of ethics, a subject often subsumed under the heading of “critical issues” or “contemporary problems” in journalism. the case study method can also be used to teach news judgment, editing, and a number of other subjects. However, journalism issues and problems, unlike legal ones, do not deliver themselves neatly packaged as teachable cases. They must be created from scratch. This can be done hypothetically, a method pioneered by the Fred Friendly seminars on the Public Broadcasting System. Yet such cases frequently suffer from a studied lack of reality, or else age quickly—or both. Instructors can, of course, create their own cases—real or hypothetical—but faculty are quick to point out that they lack the time, resources, and, sometimes, access to original materials that are necessary to make such cases definitive. Valuable ethics books exist that pose cases or, less satisfactorily, stage arguments on opposing sides of controversies. However, the cases presented are brief and contain only modest detail. Staged arguments . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.