For example, a technical writer may be called upon to write a description of a product that omits important safety information. Or, a camera operator for a cable access news program may be asked to record an interview with an individual who wants his or her identity concealed. Or a client wants you to create a logo based on a competitor’s imagery.
After choosing your dilemma, describe the situation. Explain why it poses an ethical problem. What options do you have in this situation? What are the consequences of these options? How will your audience be affected by your decision? Your employer? Your subject? Yourself? Who else might be affected and how?
Next, explain potential guidelines for behavior in such a situation. What sources of support and advice are available to you? What boundaries are set by the law? What codes of ethics are prescribed by professional organizations and societies? What other sources can you look to for recommendations? Do you have professional models in your field? Where do you personally turn for advice in difficult situations? If religion is important to you, how does its teachings help you?
Finally, explain the criteria you would use in determining your course of action. What boundaries do you set for yourself? What questions do you have to answer in order to decide? What personal values guide you? Explain why you would use these criteria. Ultimately state and explain your decision.
It is important to understand that there are no right or wrong answers for this paper. It is not necessary to agree with any biases I may have expressed in class. And, certainly, you should keep in mind the practicalities of getting and keeping jobs. It is precisely this kind of consideration that can turn a simple situation into an ethical dilemma.