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Case Studies

mei profile logoThe Media Ethics Initiative is developing an extensive set of case studies for use in media ethics courses, or in courses that seek to add an ethics element to their communication-related subject matter. For a discussion on how to employ these case studies in your class, please read Dr. Scott Stroud’s guide to using case studies.

Media Ethics Case Studies:

Ethics and the Tweeter in Chief: The Ethics of the Presidential Communication [PDF]

[Topics: Twitter, digital ethics, social media, political communication]

This Bake Sale Got Burnt: Free Speech and the Ethics of Protest [PDF]

[Topics: protest ethics, campus communication, free speech]

Bullying our First Amendment? [PDF]

[Topics: digital ethics, social media, bullying, free speech]

13 Reasons Why and the Ethics of Fictional Depictions of Suicide [PDF]

[Topics: art, film, media effects, health communication]

Taking Charging Bull by the Horns: The Ethics of Artistic Appropriation [PDF]

[Topics: art and ethics, appropriation, aesthetics, public art, guerrilla art]

Fake News, Fake Porn, and AI: “Deepfakes” and the Ethics of Faked Videos [PDF]

[Topics: fake news, fake porn, revenge porn, AI, art, digital ethics]

Sharing the Pain: The Ethics of Social Media Sharing in Times of Tragedy [PDF]

[Topics: social media, emergency communication, digital ethics]

Too Much of a Good Thing? Anonymity, Doxing, and the Ethics of Reddit [PDF]

[Topics: doxing, free speech, hate speech, censorship, digital ethics]

Dying to Be Online: The Ethics of Digital Death on Social Media [PDF]

[Topics: digital death, memorials, social media, Facebook, digital ethics]

Facing the Challenges of Next Generation Identification: Biometrics, Data, and Privacy [PDF]

[Topics: digital ethics, facial recognition, biometrics, privacy, law enforcement]

Swipe Right to Expose: Journalism, Privacy, and Digital Information [PDF]

[Topics: digital journalism, privacy, dating apps, social media]

Finsta Fad: The Real Ethics of Fake Social Media Profiles [PDF]

[Topics: social media, deception, privacy, self-presentation, digital ethics]

First, Do No Harm? Doctor-Patient Confidentiality and Protecting Third Parties [PDF]

[Topics: doctor-patient communication, medical ethics, confidentiality, privacy]

Collateral Damage to the Truth: Reporting Casualties in Drone Strikes [PDF]

[Topics: journalism, national security, transparency, war reporting]

Doxing and Digital Journalism: The HuffPost Story on Amy Mekelburg [PDF]

[Topics: journalism, doxing, privacy, digital ethics, political communication]

When Comedic Stereotypes Cease to Be Funny: The Controversy over Apu and The Simpsons [PDF]

[Topics: comedy, racial stereotypes, art, appropriation, aesthetics, free speech]

#MeToo and the Arts: The Met’s Decision Over Balthus’ Thérèse Dreaming [PDF]

[Topics: art and ethics, aesthetics, sexual harassment, consent]

Sweet Justice? Pepsi’s Controversial Use of Protest Iconography in Advertising [PDF]

[Topics: advertising, social justice, visual rhetoric]

Virtual Reality, Immersive Media, and Journalism: The Ethics of Facebook’s Virtual Trip to Puerto Rico [PDF]

[Topics: digital journalism, journalism ethics, virtual reality]

No Comment: Online Comment Sections and Democratic Discourse [PDF]

[Topics: digital journalism, journalism ethics, free speech]

Google Assistant and the Ethics of Artificial Intelligence in Human Interactions [PDF]

[Topics: digital ethics, AI ethics]

Artificial Intelligence and Online Hate Speech: From Tay AI to Automated Content Moderation [PDF]

[Topics: digital ethics, AI ethics, free speech]

Boldly Going Where Studios Have Gone Before: Fan Fiction and the Ethics of Imitation [PDF]

[Topics: film ethics, free speech, copyright, digital ethics]

Gaming the System? Digital Ethics and Cheating in Fortnite [PDF]

[Topics: digital ethics, online games, computer ethics]

Values Preserved in Stone: The Ethics of Confederate Memorials [PDF]

[Topics: memorial ethics, art and ethics, memory, free speech]

To Catfish or Not to Catfish? The Ethics of Online Deception [PDF]

[Topics: digital ethics, lying, deception social media]

Just Do It? Nike, Social Justice, and the Ethics of Branding [PDF]

[Topics: advertising ethics, social justice, visual rhetoric]

How Can I Be So Mean to Myself? Digital Self-Harm and the Ethics of Social Media [PDF]

[Topics: digital ethics, social media, bullying, free speech, deception]

Sports Media Cases:

Covering Female Athletes Case Study

[Topics: digital ethics, blogging, journalism, gender, advertising]

Defending Freedom of Tweets Case Study

[Topics: Twitter, digital ethics, social media, free speech]

Endorsement Deals for Journalists Case Study

[Topics: journalism, advertising]

Sacking Social Media in College Sports Case Study

[Topics: Twitter, digital ethics, social media, free speech, campus issues]

Sports Blogs Case Study

[Topics: blogging, journalism, digital ethics]

Journalists and the Bowl Championship Series Case Study

[Topics: journalism, advertising]


Case studies produced by the Media Ethics Initiative remain the intellectual property of the Media Ethics Initiative and the University of Texas at Austin. They can be used in unmodified PDF form without permission for classroom use. For use in publications such as textbooks and other works, please contact the Media Ethics Initiative.

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