I will expect you to think critically about First Amendment rights as you develop these essays. Three cases will be presented after these instructions. You are to write your essay on only one of the cases for Essay 1. In the first paragraph, describe the dilemma you have, the situation you are in. In your essays, address the questions posed following the scenario, but make it all flow as though those questions are thoughts you have and know that they must be considered in arriving at a solution to your journalistic dilemma. Do not list the questions within your essay and then answer them individually. You must fully justify the path you choose. In other words, whether you choose a solution that is provided to you within the case scenario or another one you have come up with on your own, you must explain completely why you have made this choice.1
Troy University Hall School of Journalism & Communication JRN 4425: Multimedia Law
SPRING 2020 (Dr. Sarapin)—Essay 1 Worth 150 pts.
ESSAY 1 DUE: Through Turn-It-In by Thursday, March 5 no later than 11:00 p.m.
NO PLAGIARISM!! You could fail this assignment if you copy anything from anywhere.
I will expect you to think critically about First Amendment rights as you develop these essays.
Three cases will be presented after these instructions. You are to write your essay on only one of
the cases for Essay 1. In the first paragraph, describe the dilemma you have, the situation you are in.
In your essays, address the questions posed following the scenario, but make it all flow as though
those questions are thoughts you have and know that they must be considered in arriving at a
solution to your journalistic dilemma. Do not list the questions within your essay and then answer
them individually. You must fully justify the path you choose. In other words, whether you choose a
solution that is provided to you within the case scenario or another one you have come up with on
your own, you must explain completely why you have made this choice. Refer to at least two
previously decided cases (precedents) as partial support for your decision. Remember: The First
Amendment is NOT a precedent. Do not start off writing the scenario as it appears in this
assignment simply to add words to your essay. You must begin by briefly explaining the dilemma
you are facing. Remember: The reader of your paper doesn’t know what the assignment is. Your
paper must be submitted through Canvas by the deadline above to receive full credit. Do
your own work. I have caught many students plagiarizing the work of previous students, and
it did not end well. Canvas has all papers submitted for this assignment for the past six years
in its repository, and I have them, also.
Specifications: Use this list as your checklist before you submit your paper! Points will be taken
off if you do not follow this checklist! You must write this on your own. This is NOT a group
____ 650–900 words (This is a firm minimum and maximum number of words—not one
word fewer nor one word more.)
____ 12-pt. Times New Roman, double spaced
____ 1-inch margins on all four sides of page
____ Contact info and name in header on every page; you MUST include your email address!!
____ Indent paragraphs ½ inch with NO extra spacing between paragraphs
____ Include page numbers
____ Do not submit PDFs. I cannot correct them.
_____ Include a reference/bibliography section.
_____ DO NOT use justified type alignment. Use left alignment.
_____ First Amendment should be capitalized.
_____ Include at least 2 precedents.
_____ The name of your file MUST be:
Last name_First initial_JRN4425_Essay(insert here either 1 or 2)_RAW
The cases follow:
How much information should you report?
You are a reporter for a local newspaper. You come back to the office one day to find several staff
members discussing this story:
Two teenagers have been killed in an automobile accident. The driver, who survived, had been
drinking prior to the accident. The two girls in the back seat, both of whom were killed, were nude
at the time of the accident.
Your colleague, another reporter, is pushing for all the known facts to be reported. But the editor
argues that the fact of the girls’ nudity should not be revealed; he claims that such information will
just be an additional insult to their parents, who already are suffering from the girls’ deaths.
Ask: Do you have a right to publish:
The fact that the driver was drinking?
The fact that the girls were nude at the time of the accident?
Would it be responsible to publish these facts in reporting the accident?
Brainstorm ALONE about things to consider in deciding whether to report this information:
Do we have all the facts? Has anyone interviewed the survivor?
Does the newspaper have a policy on printing names of sexual-assault victims?
Will publishing the information help anyone else?
To what lengths should you go to get a story?
You are a correspondent for a major television network. Your producers have done a great deal
of research about a national grocery chain; they allege that some of its grocery stores are asking
employees to participate in unsanitary food-handling practices.
This is an important story. Consumers may get sick if they eat tainted food, you argue, and
they have a right to know that a food store is not handling its food in a safe manner. You
want to make sure this story airs on national television. You believe that to get good
footage you have to go into the store with cameras and film the store’s workers actually
engaging in unsafe practices. You need proof.
As the television correspondent, how will you get your story?
A. Call the store manager and request an on-site interview, with cameras. Explain that you
have some information that consumers will want to know about and give the store a
chance to show its side of the story.
B. Just appear at the store one day, without advance notice to the manager. That way you
won’t tip off the staff that you’re onto a story.
C. Pretend to be looking for a job in the store; complete an employment application and
actually get hired. Then, while you’re at work, use hidden cameras to document the
unsafe practices you see.
D. Your own solution to the dilemma. Be specific.
Will a negative story be allowed to run in a high school newspaper?
As a high school journalist, you have developed several sources of information about the football
camp held each year at your school. You hear that brutal hazing is part of athletes’ initiation to
the team. Investigating further, you learn that new players are subject to various humiliations and
assaults, sometimes with broomsticks, electrical cords and socks stuffed with tennis balls.
This is a big, important story. Kids are being hurt. You work hard to get your facts right and
spend a great deal of effort checking and double-checking your sources. Your newspaper’s
adviser supports you and your work. But when you are ready to publish the story in the
school newspaper, the principal says you can’t run it unless you make substantial changes.
You must eliminate a player’s comments and add a prepared statement from the football
coach. The coach also says this is “negative journalism” and wants you to hold the story
until after the playoffs.
What do you do?
A. Drop the story. You know you’ve done a good job, but if the principal won’t let you run
the story as you have prepared it, you won’t run it at all.
B. Wait until after the playoffs, as the coach requests, and then print the story according to
the principal’s requirements: Drop the player’s comments and run the football coach’s
statement. At least some of the information you have uncovered will come out.
C. Print the story as your principal demands, by dropping the player’s comments and
running the football coach’s statement. But add an editor’s note at the end of the story,
explaining that school officials, including the coach, reviewed the story and insisted that
changes be made to it before it was published.
D. Your own solution to the dilemma. Be specific.
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