Ethical Analysis

Description of Task

Study of a photograph of a historically significant event, or a photo that, in itself, became an important and influential moment in history. Practice using the Potter Box.

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Topics Covered
Potter Box (it is an Ethical framework for media, can be found on Google)
Photographers’ organizations codes of professional behavior

The purpose of this assignment is for students deepen their familiarity with the Potter Box and professional codes of behavior as a way to guide decision-making regarding images.
Additionally, students will reflect on their own values, loyalties and principles that can guide their own decision-making.


Choose one of these images from
Read their explanation of the image’s context.
Find another reputable source with details to get more background information on the image.

Windblown Jackie:

Soweto Uprising:

AIDS victim:

Demi Moore pregnancy:

Alan Kurdi:

Write 1-2 paragraphs summarizing the circumstances of the image and the social/political events surrounding it. Base it on research of reliable sources. Cite them in the text using MLA guidelines.
Write 1 paragraph using the Potter Box to consider aspects of the photograph, the decision to take it and to publish it.
Write a paragraph noting at least 2 points in either the Code of Ethics to analyze using the photo. Use the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), or the National Press Photographers Association (NPPA) if it is a news photo. If it is not (eg. an edited, photographer-controlled image), use the ASMP guidelines.
Write 1 paragraph about your own ethical perspective. Describe a faith tradition, a guiding principle or philosophy that is meaningful to you. Be specific about the teachings of that philosophy or faith tradition that is pertinent to ethical relationships with others; cite sources. I anticipate that it might be a ‘sketch’ of your ideas, so don’t fret if you feel unsure of how to best express yourself.
Write a few sentences to connect your ethical perspective with your opinion about the use of this photograph.
Cite sources using MLA formatting.

WORD COUNT: 600-800 words

Performance Criteria

Address the items listed above.
Write clearly, professionally (no slang, anecdotes, incomplete sentences)
If you quote a source in your text, use MLA formatting

other helpful resources from class:

Interactive Media Bias Chart – 2 — good to for contrasting evaluation against nppa’s ethics

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