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Module Specifications..

Current Academic Year 2023 - 2024

Please note that this information is subject to change.

Module Title Ethics and Regulation
Module Code CM1540
School School of Communications
Module Co-ordinatorSemester 1: Roderick Flynn
Semester 2: Roderick Flynn
Autumn: Roderick Flynn
Module TeachersRoderick Flynn
NFQ level 8 Credit Rating 5
Pre-requisite None
Co-requisite None
Compatibles None
Incompatibles None
Any missing or failed short essays must be resubmitted prior to attempted a resit on the 2,000-3,0000 word paper

This module engages the question: What ought journalists to do? It has readings in classical ethical theory -- Plato and Aristotle -- Enlightenment thinkers such as Kant and J.S. Mill, and contemporary writers such as Jonathan Haight and Peter Singer. It has a component of democratic political theory and a substantial engagement with journalism as it is practiced today in all media form.

Learning Outcomes

1. 1. Answer the questions, 'What ought I to do?' and 'On whose authority?'
2. 2. Apply classical ethical theory to contemporary professional communication practice
3. 3. Resolve contradictory moral obligations in the field of journalism and other mass communication professions
4. 4. Participate meaningfully and compellingly in group discussion of ethical quandries and connundrums
5. 5. Write thoughtfully and reasonably on matters of resolving moral dilemmas in the field of journalism and other areas of professional communication
6. Place journalistic moral obligation in the context of Western liberal democracies and consider alternative contexts

Workload Full-time hours per semester
Type Hours Description
Lecture22Mandatory attendance
Assignment Completion50weekly short essays, subsantial final essay
Independent Study53Readings in classical texts, contemporary practice
Total Workload: 125

All module information is indicative and subject to change. For further information,students are advised to refer to the University's Marks and Standards and Programme Specific Regulations at: http://www.dcu.ie/registry/examinations/index.shtml

Indicative Content and Learning Activities

Introduction to moral reasoning

The role of the self

The role of the divine

The Telos from Aristotle to Mill

Moral obligation from Plato to Kant

David Hume and the passions

Democratic political theory

The role of a free press in democratic political theory

Impediments and filters: Culture

Impediments and filters: Technology. Journalism ethics in an instantaneous, global world

Impediments and filters: Economics

Assessment Breakdown
Continuous Assessment100% Examination Weight0%
Course Work Breakdown
TypeDescription% of totalAssessment Date
EssaySubstantial inquiry, approximately 2,000-3,000 words, into the ethical dimensions of contemporary practice, drawing upon the texts to bolster deontological or consequentialist argument for the moral rightness (or wrongness) of behavior, and putting the results into a broad ethical context.50%Once per semester
AssignmentShort essays, approximately 500-800 words, submitted periodically, expressing increasingly sophisticated understanding of concepts of classical and modern moral reasoning and understanding, and application to contemporary professional journalistic praceiced50%Every Second Week
Reassessment Requirement Type
Resit arrangements are explained by the following categories;
1 = A resit is available for all components of the module
2 = No resit is available for 100% continuous assessment module
3 = No resit is available for the continuous assessment component
This module is category 1
Indicative Reading List

  • Steven R. Knowlton: 1997, Moral reasoning for journalists, First, All, Praeger, Westport, Conn., 0-275-94871-4
  • 0-07-247690-7: 2006, Elements of Moral Philosophy, 6th, all, McGraw-Hill, New York,
  • William Frankena: 1973, Ethics, 2d, Prentice-Hall, New Jersey,
  • Jack Fuller: 1996, News values, First, All, University of Chicago Press, Chicago, Ill., 0-226-26879.9
  • Peter Singer, ed: 2005, Ethics Oxford Reader, OUP,
  • A.C. Grayling,: 0, What Is Good?, 1st, all, Phoenix, London, 0-75381-755-1
  • Jonathan Haidt: 2012, The Righteous Mind,
Other Resources

11620, 0, A wide variety of news and other related sites,
Programme or List of Programmes
AFUAge Friendly University Programme
HMSAStudy Abroad (Humanities & Soc Science)
HMSAOStudy Abroad (Humanities & Soc Science)
JRBA in Journalism

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