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30 minutes
  • Journalism
  • Media Ethics
  • 10-12
  • College/University

  1. In advance, review the case study and background.
  2. Pass out copies of the case study and have students discuss it in small groups. Tell the groups they should attempt to come to a consensus about which of the multiple choice options they think is the best. They may also come up with another position.
  3. Ask the groups to share out their choice and reasoning. Use the questions below to guide the discussion.

  • Case study handout (download), one per student

  • What are arguments for and against using the entire video on television and/or posting it online?
  • Is there an issue of greater public good – revealing the horror that this group is inflicting in the areas where it has taken control? Does that outweigh concerns that it might offend viewers’ sensibilities?
  • Could airing or not airing the video affect the ongoing effort to combat this group?
  • When is something “in bad taste” or offensive? How does this affect its newsworthiness?
  • Is it possible for news footage to be too graphic? Too personal? Too intense?
  • How might viewers react to the video? How is the experience different for viewers of the televised broadcast versus those viewing the story and video online?
  • Does the video inflict additional/unnecessary harm and pain on the hostage’s family and other victims’ families? Does that justify not running it?


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