Faculty of Arts

Undergraduate - Unit

This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2015 only. For students planning to study the unit, please refer to the unit indexes in the the current edition of the Handbook. If you have any queries contact the managing faculty for your course or area of study.

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6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.

FacultyFaculty of Arts
Organisational UnitSchool of Media, Film and Journalism
OfferedGippsland First semester 2015 (Off-campus)
Coordinator(s)Elizabeth Hart


This unit covers the areas of professional ethics that govern journalism in Australia. Students learn how the principles and codes of journalism ethics influence and impact on journalism practice. Students explore debates about privacy, chequebook journalism, sensationalism, news images and ethics, conflicts of interest, plagiarism, self-regulation, gender and media stereotypes, and reporting of race and minorities. Students learn the extent of ethical constraints and freedoms and the tensions that arise among media owners, media regulators, journalists, and the public in reporting of news. The challenges of rapid technological change provide a framework within which to consider trends and dilemmas in journalism ethics in the 21st century.


On completion of this unit students will:

  1. Understand the ethical issues which journalists encounter in their daily work;
  2. Be able to critically analyse the challenges of ethical practice in the production of news;
  3. Understand the importance and relevance of unethical practice within the Fourth Estate model of the production of news;
  4. Be able to debate and analyse the ethical conflicts that arise between the media, the public, and public relations;
  5. Understand the implication of technological advances on ethical journalism;
  6. Have knowledge of and practise in applying the MEAA's Code of Ethics and the Australian Press Council Statement of Principles;
  7. Have the ability to critically analyse self-regulation of the media in Australia.

Note: Level 3 students are required to demonstrate a higher level of production skills, and critical argument and scholarship, including a stronger grasp of key concepts.


Within semester assessment: 60%
Exam: 40%

Workload requirements

Minimum total expected workload to achieve the learning outcomes for this unit is 144 hours per semester typically comprising a mixture of scheduled learning activities and independent study. A unit requires on average three/four hours of scheduled activities per week. Scheduled activities may include a combination of teacher directed learning, peer directed learning and online engagement.

See also Unit timetable information

Chief examiner(s)


Twelve credit points of second-year Arts units.


GSC2910, GSC3903, GSC3910, ATS2658, JRN2910, JRN3910