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Office Hours: Monday 2-4pm, Thursday 3:30-5pm, and by appointment Office: 377 NH2 Contact: email@example.com, 443-1151(o)
About This Course
NATURE AND OBJECTIVES This course is designed to introduce students to the many legal questions faced by mass media professionals in disseminating news and information to the public. Through a combination of lectures, class discussions and other resource materials, students will study and analyze cases and problems involving issues that are relevant to professions in advertising, journalism, public relations and telecommunication. Some of the topics we will cover include: First Amendment theory, libel, invasion of privacy, obscenity, copyright, advertising and broadcasting. LEARNING OUTCOMES Upon completion of this course, students should be able to: 1. Articulate and assert the rights of a media professional. 2. Understand key concepts in media. 3. Demonstrate an understanding of American courts, including how to read and report on judicial decisions. 4. Apply legal reasoning, judicial tests and precedents to specific factual situations in order to determine whether they are potentially (a) unconstitutional under the First Amendment, (b) illegal or (c) actionable under civil law. PROFESSIONAL VALUES AND COMPETENCIES ADDRESSED: Demonstrate an understanding of history and the principles of freedom of speech and press; apply theories in presenting information; think creatively and analytically, write clearly and accurately, engage in critical evaluation. Reading Materials (Required) • Middleton, Kent R. and William E. Lee, The Law of Public Communication, 2013 Update, Pearson Education, Inc., 2013. • Readings assigned on Blackboard Attendance and Attitude Students are expected to show respect for one another and for the instructor. Attendance and arriving on time for class are necessary. Lateness and absences will result in a lower final grade. If you have been absent, you are responsible for finding out about any missed material by
going to the instructor’s office hours. These matters will not be handled via e-mail. Further, the instructor will not provide students with any of the notes they missed in class on the day they were absent. It is the responsibility of the student to ask a classmate for the information that they have missed. You will be called upon during the class so be prepared by reading the assigned materials before class. Your participation in class discussion is important for both your learning and that of your classmates. I will give my full effort to make this a worthwhile course for you. I expect you will give your full effort in learning and applying the material. Please remember professionalism in your classroom speech and demeanor. Free speech encompasses a variety of opinions. We’ll be disagreeing and you’ll be assigned to take diverse positions in arguments. Please be understanding and tolerant. While you will be encouraged to critique an idea or analysis, I hope you don’t make or take that criticism personally. Contacting Dr. McNealy Should students have any questions concerning the class or substance, the easiest way to contact Dr. McNealy is by the e-mail address provided. All e-mails sent between the hours of 9am and 5pm will be answered ASAP. Those e-mails sent after this time will not be answered until the next day unless designated as an emergency. Students should put “COM698” in the subject line of the e-mail.
Grades in this course are awarded solely on the basis of student performance. No credit or grades will be awarded to students based on their needs. There will be three examinations, briefs, a presentation, and a class participation grade upon which your final grade will be calculated. Students in this course are not entitled to a grading curve. While the professor is under no obligation to curve the test scores, she reserves the right to institute one in any given semester, and the decision will be made by her only at the end of the semester after the final grades have been tabulated and averaged. Neither is there an obligation to provide extra-credit opportunities for students, although that right is also reserved. Extra-credit opportunities are presented on a class-wide basis only. No assignments are given to fit individual needs. Note: Late assignments will not be accepted and will receive a grade of “0.” Excuses for late assignments must be in the form of a written petition to the instructor, submitted immediately upon return of the student to class. Failure to submit a timely petition will result in the same grade reduction described above, regardless of the nature of the excuse submitted later by a student. In those cases where excused absences are anticipated (e.g. a university field trip, athletic trip, etc.), papers must be submitted in advance of the anticipated absence. The instructor reserves the right to ask for any documentation that she deems appropriate to ensure that an absence is excused, and she retains the right to create new assignments for those students eligible to make up an assignment or test. The excuse policy articulated herein only covers extreme, one-time situations. The grading scale for the course is as follows:
94-100 90-93 87-89 84-89 80-83 77-79 74-76 70-73 60-69 Below 60
= = = = = = = = = =
A AB+ B BC+ C CD F (don’t go here)
The percentage breakdown for class assignments is as follows: Exams (3) = 75% Discussion Leader = 15% Participation = 10% Note: Challenges to assignment or exam grades must be made in writing, after a period of 48 hours after receiving your grade. The writing should express why the student feels the grade should be changed and justification, based on fact, for the grade change. Challenges to grades should be made no later than one (1) week after receiving the grade. After this time, the student forfeits the ability to have their grade challenge considered.
Each of the three scheduled examinations will involve only the materials covered in the respective portions of the semester. Students will be responsible for all of the information contained in the readings, lectures and other presentations. Examinations generally will consist of essay questions in which it will be necessary for students to spot the issue in the facts provided and, using what we have discussed in class, analyze and answer the question. The professor reserves the right to alter the examination format. Students are expected to be present and on time for each scheduled examination. Only in instances where there is an excused absence will a make-up be given. A student seeking to be excused must present to the professor written evidence of an excusable absence such as personal illness or death in the family. Other excuses must be analyzed on a case-by-case basis. Except during periods of extreme weather conditions, no extra time will be given to examination latecomers. No one will be allowed to take an examination after one of the examinees has completed his or her examination and left the room. No one is allowed to leave the room for any reason during the examination unless he or she suddenly becomes too ill to complete the examination. Therefore, students should take care of all their needs prior to entering the examination room. Makeup examinations must be completed within one week (7 days) of the scheduled examination date.
Students requesting accommodations are advised to consult with the Office of Disability Services. Any student requesting accommodations must submit a letter from the Office of Disability Services within the first two weeks of class. The instructor reserves the right to defer to the knowledge and skill of the Office of Disability Services to assess the propriety of an accommodation request. Statement Regarding Disability-Related Accommodations Students who are in need of disability-related academic accommodations must register with the Office of Disability Services (ODS), 304 University Avenue, Room 309, 315-443-4498. Students with authorized disability-related accommodations should provide a current Accommodation Authorization Letter from ODS to the instructor and review those accommodations with the instructor. Accommodations, such as exam administration, are not provided retroactively; therefore, planning for accommodations as early as possible is necessary. For further information, see the ODS website, Office of Disability Services at: http://disabilityservices.syr.edu or contact the office directly at: Phone: (315) 443-4498 Telecommunications Device for the Deaf: (315) 443-1371 E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org DISCUSSION LEADER: Over the course of the semester you will have the opportunity to sign up to present on an issue related to what we are studying in class. Your task is to relate the topic to your personal or professional goals as well as current events. For example, is your professional goal is to work as a press secretary, you may want to sign up to present on the day that we cover corporate and political speech, and present on an issue currently relevant to that topic. You will have the opportunity to sign up for topics on the first day of class. NOTE: You will not be teaching the subject matter of the class, only presenting a current situation related to the subject matter. You must turn in an overview of your topic and what you plan to discuss at least one (1) week prior to your presentation date for approval. Failure to do so will affect your grade. ACADEMIC CONDUCT The class will operate according to the standards of professional behavior. You will be expected to conduct yourself in an honest, ethical and courteous manner—with your classmates as well as with me. Assignments may not be duplicated from work performed in another class. Any act of dishonesty in any work, including cheating, plagiarism, misrepresentation or fabrication of material constitutes academic misconduct and will be handled according to the standards of the Syracuse University Academic Integrity Policy.
SYRACUSE UNIVERSITY ACADEMIC INTEGRITY POLICY I. Preamble At Syracuse University, academic integrity is expected of every community member in all endeavors. Academic integrity includes a commitment to the values of honesty, trustworthiness, fairness, and respect. These values are essential to the overall success of an
academic society. In addition, each member of the university community has a right to expect adherence to academic integrity from all other community members. An individual’s academic dishonesty threatens and undermines the central mission of the university. It is unfair to other community members who do not cheat, because it devalues efforts to learn, to teach, and to conduct research. Academic dishonesty interferes with moral and intellectual development, and poisons the atmosphere of open and trusting intellectual discourse. While the policies and procedures in this document pertain in the main to students, it is also the policy of Syracuse University that all instructors, administrators, and staff shall adhere to academic integrity standards expected of academic professionals. This policy applies in all schools and colleges at Syracuse University, except as provided in section A, below. Syracuse University schools and colleges utilize a uniform approach to academic integrity to promote communication and awareness of policies and fairness and consistency in their application. There may be instances, however, in which it is legitimate for the faculty of a school or college to adopt a policy augmentation. Such an augmentation will be consistent with the university-wide approach. A discipline-specific rationale for the augmentation is especially appropriate. A copy of any policy augmentation will be provided to the university’s Academic Integrity Office (AIO) and published as an appendix to the university’s academic integrity policies and procedures wherever they are published by the university and/or the schools/colleges. [ Section A applies on to the College of Law and is omitted here] Academic Integrity Expectations Academic integrity is violated by any dishonest act which is committed in an academic context including, but not restricted to the following: A. Use of Sources 1. Plagiarism is the use of someone else's language, ideas, information, or original material without acknowledging the source. a. Examples of plagiarism: i. Paper is downloaded from an Internet source and/or obtained from a paper mill. ii. Paper contains part or all of the writings of another person (including another student), without citation. iii. Paper contains passages that were cut and pasted from an Internet source, without citation. 2. While students are responsible for knowing how to quote from, paraphrase, and cite sources correctly, the ability to apply that information in all writing situations is an advanced literacy skill acquired over time through repeated practice. When a student has attempted to acknowledge sources but has not done so fully or completely, the instructor may determine that the issue is misuse of sources or bad writing, rather than plagiarism. Factors that may be relevant to the determination between misuse of sources and plagiarism include prior academic integrity education at Syracuse University and the program level of the student. Instructors are responsible for communicating their expectations regarding the use and citation of sources. II.
B. Course Work and Research 1. The use or attempted use of unauthorized aids in examinations or other academic exercises submitted for evaluation; 2. Fabrication, falsification, or misrepresentation of data, results, sources for papers or reports; in clinical practice, as in reporting experiments, measurements, statistical analyses, tests, or other studies never performed; manipulating or altering data or other manifestations of research to achieve a desired result; selective reporting, including the deliberate suppression of conflicting or unwanted data; 3. Copying from another student's work; 4. Actions that destroy or alter the work of another student; 5. Unauthorized cooperation in completing assignments or examinations; 6. Submission of the same written work in more than one course without prior written approval from both instructors. C. Communications 1. Violating the confidentiality of an academic integrity investigation, resolution, or documentation; 2. Making a false report of academic dishonesty; 3. Dishonesty in requests for make-up exams, for extensions of deadlines for submitting papers, or in any other matter relating to a course. D. Representations and Materials Misuse 1. Falsification of records, reports, or documents associated with the educational process; 2. Misrepresentation of one's own or another's identity in an academic context; 3. Misrepresentation of material facts or circumstances in relation to examinations, papers, or other academic activities; 4. Sale of papers, essays, or research for fraudulent use; 5. Alteration or falsification of university records; 6. Unauthorized use of university academic facilities or equipment, including computer accounts and files; 7. Unauthorized recording, sale, purchase, or use of academic lectures, academic computer software, or other instructional materials; 8. Expropriation or abuse of ideas and preliminary data obtained during the process of editorial or peer review of work submitted to journals, or in proposals for funding by agency panels or by internal university committees; 9. Expropriation and/or inappropriate dissemination of personally-identifying human subject data; 10. Unauthorized removal, mutilation, or deliberate concealment of materials in university libraries, media, laboratories, or academic resource centers. III.Course-Specific Expectations
A. The instructor of record is responsible for determining and communicating course-specific academic integrity expectations. Instructors of record are responsible for stating coursespecific expectations in writing, particularly those regarding use of sources and collaboration. B. Students are responsible for consulting their instructors for any clarification needed on academic integrity standards, including those set forth in this policy and those that are course-specific. C. Collusion is assisting or attempting to assist another in an act of academic dishonesty. Collusion is distinct from collaborative learning, which may be a valuable component of scholarly development. Acceptable levels of collaboration vary in different courses, and students are expected to consult with their instructor if they are uncertain whether their cooperative activities are acceptable. Newhouse Rules “1. Any piece of work bearing a student’s name is assumed by the School to guarantee that the thoughts, expressions, editorial and photographic material not credited to another are literally the student’s own. If such credit is not given for another’s work, the student shall be guilty of committing plagiarism. 2.It is not permissible for any student to submit the same material, with substantially the same style, structure, or wording, to instructors in two or more courses.” Note: You will fail any assignment produced dishonestly, you will be reported to the Dean of Students Office and possibly subject to more serious disciplinary action.
Week/Date 1 Aug. 27 2 Sept. 3 3 Sept. 10 4 Sept. 17 5 Sept. 24 6 Oct. 1 7 Oct. 8 8 Oct. 15 9 Oct. 22 10 Oct. 29 11 Nov. 5 12 Nov. 12 13 Nov. 19 14 Nov. 26 15 Dec. 3 Intellectual Property Libel Invasion of Privacy Commercial Speech The First Amendment Controlling Expression Topic Intro & The Legal System Chap. 1 pp. 1-25 ***No Class*** Chap. 2 pp. 26-69 Chap. 3 pp. 70-96 ***First Exam*** Chap. 8 pp. 332-374 Reading(s)
Commercial Speech con’t Chap. 8 pp. 375-407 Political Speech Obscenity Chap. 7 pp. 287-331 Chap. 9 pp. 408-466 ***Second Exam*** Chap. 4 pp. 97-161 Chap. 5 pp. 179-196, 217-238 ***No Class*** Happy Thanksgiving! Chap. 6 pp. 239-286 ***Third Exam***
*Syllabus subject to change*
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