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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Law : Law

Postgraduate Course: Legal and Ethical Issues in Digital Journalism (LAWS11448)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Law CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits10 ECTS Credits5
SummaryDigital technologies are changing the shape of the journalism ecosystem and raising a whole range of challenges and opportunities, from declining trust in the media to changing practices in newsrooms.

The interplay between the current industry dynamics and the existing ethical and legal frameworks is twofold: on the one hand, it is uncertain whether these frameworks are suitable to address newly emerging concerns in an effective manner (e.g.: is automated journalism content as reliable as traditional news stories, and who bears the responsibility if it is not? What can be done to address emerging safety threats to journalists linked to digital developments?). On the other hand, regulators are also responsible for providing better opportunities for the news media industry to harness unprecedented opportunities (e.g., should journalists be exempted from GDPR compliance?).
Course description The course will be delivered in five seminars which may cover the following:

1) Algorithmic Journalism and Its Ethical Challenges
2) Cross-Border Defamation and SLAPPs (Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation)
3) Data-driven Journalism and Privacy
4) Mobile Technologies for Investigative Journalism
5) Journalist Safety in the Digital Age

The course focuses on five selected case-studies to discuss the ideal shape of future legal and ethical frameworks for journalistic professions.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2022/23, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  25
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 100 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 20, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 2, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 78 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Formative Assessment:«br /»
The students will be offered the opportunity to submit a draft skeleton answer to their final essay in week 3.«br /»
«br /»
Summative Assessment:«br /»
The course will be assessed by a 2,500 word essay (90%); and class participation (10%).
Feedback Feedback on the formative assessment may be provided in various formats, for example, to include written, oral, video, face-to-face, whole class, or individual. The course organiser will decide which format is most appropriate in relation to the nature of the assessment.

Feedback on both formative and summative in-course assessed work will be provided in time to be of use in subsequent assessments within the course.

Feedback on the summative assessment will be provided in written form via Learn, the University of Edinburgh's Virtual Learning Environment (VLE).
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate a critical understanding of how digital technologies are affecting professional practices in the journalism industry, and the challenges to the ability of news media to deliver their societal function effectively.
  2. Document their investigation of the ongoing relevance of existing legal principles, the emergence of new ethical and regulatory frameworks.
  3. Express autonomous views on a range of current and emerging issues where definite answers do not yet exist and compare them with those of their peers in seminar discussions.
Reading List
Please contact the course organiser for further information on an indicative bibliography.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Skills and Abilities in Research and Enquiry
The students will have developed the ability to investigate the ongoing relevance of existing legal principles, the emergence of new ethical and regulatory frameworks.

Skills and Abilities in Personal and Intellectual Autonomy
Students will have been encouraged to develop autonomous views on a range of current and emerging issues where definite answers do not yet exist and compare them with those of their peers in seminar discussions.

Skills and Abilities in Communication
As the course has both a written and an oral (participation) component, students will have had the opportunity to practice both forms of communication.

Skills and Abilities in Personal Effectiveness
By being asked to discuss and elaborate on the merits of laws and ethical frameworks, both orally and in writing, students will develop analytical abilities as well as the ability to articulate legal reasoning.

Technical/practical skills
The students will have developed familiarity with regulatory approaches and ethical frameworks for journalistic professions, including in a comparative perspective.
KeywordsDigital,Journalism,Ethics,Level 11,Postgraduate,Law
Course organiserDr Paolo Cavaliere
Tel: (0131 6)51 5137
Course secretaryMiss Bethan Walters
Tel: (0131 6)50 2386
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