Spring 2020


Capstone Project

Degree Name



Trish Harvey

Content Expert

Kathryn Campbell


It is common for an introductory journalism class to prioritize learning how to locate sources, conduct interviews, and synthesize gathered information into a news story, but none of these tasks can be mastered without students gaining a fundamental understanding of press ethics. Ethical issues, like impartiality and the use of anonymous sources, arise every day for journalists of all types of media and years of experience, yet ethics instruction at the high school level is all too frequently relegated to advising students on a case-by-case basis as issues arise. This capstone project seeks to answer the research question, How can text sets be used in a high school journalism classroom to teach journalism ethics? This project focuses on ethics alone instead of examining press law alongside it, as merging the two into one field of study may result in students being unable to differentiate between actions that are legally acceptable and those that are morally acceptable. The result of the project is an 8-lesson journalism ethics curriculum, guided by the National Scholastic Press Association’s Model Code of Ethics for High School Students and several other texts. This unit is designed to be integrated into an introductory journalism classroom that is simultaneously learning the basics of newswriting and reporting; for this reason, the lessons are intended to be taught once per week, for a total of 8 weeks. The goal of this capstone project is to inform students about the ethical dilemmas journalists face every day and the moral criteria they must use to make decisions. It also aims to empower students to both challenge and advocate for their own ideas and those of their peers at school and in the wider scope of media.


Curriculum, Journalism Ethics, High School, Text Sets








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