Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Case study assignment

You'll take an existing case study from recent years occurring within Texas or the local business scene, and analyze it in terms of utilitarian and communitarian ethics. You will not be spending a lot of time gathering primary sources, but rather, after summarizing the case and pinpointing its "tipping point," you'll provide analysis that sheds light on the ethical dimension of your case.

Basically, it should be organized like this:
  • Introduction (a beginning anecdote or tipping point);
  • Background and review of scholarship (here's where you'll tell the case story and you'll review existing research that is pertinent to your ethical discussion); here you will reconstruct the four parts of the PR process ("what happened" part of paper);
  • Discussion of the ethical dimensions of the case (your analysis and evaluation of "what happened"), first, through the two models of utilitarianism and communitarianism, using the values. Here, you might also want to include scholarship or editorial comments from newspapers and blogs about how others have viewed the ethics of this case. Is the organization on record about its own actions?
  • Conclusion, which will include your critical analysis and also a reference to the broader goals of cosmopolitanism--did everybody matter? What were best practices that were followed or ignored?
Other assignment requirements:
  • 8-10 pages, double-spaced (12-15 if working with one other person). If using bullets, that part should be single-spaced, i.e. timelines.
  • References page using APA style (not footnotes); appendix with vital documents.
  • Use of PR ethics textbook vocabulary and concepts ("humaneness," etc.).
  • Few if any errors in spelling, grammar, etc.
  • Headings for sections of paper.
  • Place similar information in proximity to other similar information, so that the paper isn't repetitive or hard to follow.
  • Carefully cite outside sources, using attribution for ideas and words that are not your own.

Review for the mid-term

Why are codes of ethics important to professions? What are some of the criticisms of the PRSA code?

Discuss freedom of expression as a value for journalism and the practice of PR.

How does a PR professional serve as an ethical advocate?

Explain the ethical concepts of utilitarianism and communitarianism.

Define corporate speech and commercial speech, and the First Amendment principles that make these relevant to PR practice.

The FTC (FDA or SEC) and relevance to PR practice, and more broadly, to integrated practices that you may be involved in some day.

How do lobbying regulations impinge on workers in public affairs?

Think of an example of how defamation could occur in the PR context.

Discuss red flags and strategies for avoiding libel.

Consider privacy and PR work, and strategies for ensuring that sensitive matters are kept private.

Read about PR and negligence, especially concerning contests.

What are two reasons PR pros should care about copyright?

What is Fair Use, and why does this concept probably not apply to most commercial activities?

Why should a PR professional care about protecting his/her company's trademark? How is trademark protected?

What are some of the intended and unintended effects of political advertising? Of direct-to-consumer drug advertising? How would PR professionals be involved in these issues?