Dilemmas in Journalism: Law and Ethics

Subject JOUR90006 (2015)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2015.

Credit Points: 12.5
Level: 9 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2015:

June, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period 14-Jun-2015 to 28-Jun-2015
Assessment Period End 25-Jul-2015
Last date to Self-Enrol 17-Jun-2015
Census Date 26-Jun-2015
Last date to Withdraw without fail 10-Jul-2015

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 24 hours (6 hours x 4 days)
Total Time Commitment:

170 hours


Must be enrolled in the Master of Journalism program.

Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Student Support and Engagement Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Overview, Learning Outcomes, Assessment and Generic Skills sections of this entry.

It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study, and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student's participation in the University's programs. Students who feel their disability may impact on meeting the requirements of this subject are encouraged to discuss this matter with a Faculty Student Adviser and Student Equity and Disability Support: http://services.unimelb.edu.au/disability


Dr Denis Muller, Dr Margaret Simons


Office of Graduate Studies, Faculty of Arts

Email: arts-gradstudies@unimelb.edu.au

Subject Overview:

This subject will provide students with a grounding in key aspects of media law that all journalists need to be aware of, and offer students an opportunity to engage with particular ethical dilemmas that arise in the field of journalism.It will provide students with an opportunity to gain a deep understanding and capacity to reflect on legal and ethical principles, as well as an understanding of how such knowledge is relevant to the ongoing dilemmas and decisions that journalists are faced with in the course of their work.

Learning Outcomes:

Students who successfully complete this subject should:

·have a sound grasp of the legal and ethical issues associated with the history, theory and current practice of journalism;

·have a sound grasp of key aspects of media law;

·be able to outline the legal and ethical responsibilities associated with journalism;

·be equipped to critically reflect on legal and ethical principles related to the practice of journalism;

·be able to apply knowledge of legal and ethical principles to dilemmas that arise in the course of journalism practice; and

·be able to make sound decisions in journalism practice based on knowledge of the law, ethics and case-based examples.


An essay of 1,500 words and an analysis of an ethical problem 1,500 words (60%) due early in the semester, and an analysis of a legal problem 2,000 words (40%) due six weeks after the last class.

Prescribed Texts:

A subject reader will be available for purchase from the University Bookshop.

Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:

·provide leadership in journalism at a national and global level;

·understand the fundamental principles for making critical legal and ethical judgments regarding professional journalism practice;

·evaluate the dynamic processes of change operating in contemporary media and communication industries;

·demonstrate advanced skills in research, analysis and interpretation;

·demonstrate advanced skills in writing, reporting and communicating facts and ideas;

·demonstrate advanced critical thinking through presentation of research papers, conceptualising theoretical problems, forming judgements and arguments from conflicting evidence, and by critical analysis;

·develop time management and planning skills through managing and organising workloads;

·acquire cultural and ethical understanding through reflection, reading and practical experience of journalists’ responsibilities;

·demonstrate an understanding of how to market their own ideas and successfully pursue careers in an increasingly diversified and transforming industry environment.

Links to further information: http://graduate.arts.unimelb.edu.au/mcp/master-of-journalism.html
Related Course(s): Graduate Certificate in Journalism (Advanced)
Graduate Diploma in Journalism (Advanced)
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: 100 Point Master of Journalism
150 Point Master of Journalism
200 Point Master of Journalism

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