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WHAT IS A WHITE PAPER?
A white paper is an informational and persuasive essay. It is a report that is typically used by government officials, scientists, the tech industry and others. As Owl Purdue writes, “Writers typically use this genre when they argue a specific position or propose a solution to a problem…Typically, the purpose of a white paper is to advocate that a certain position is the best way to go or that a certain solution is best for a particular problem.”
It is “an educational report made available to the public that expounds on a particular…issue.” “It is an article that states an organization’s position or philosophy about a social, political, or other subject, or a not-too-detailed technical explanation of an architecture, framework, or product technology. The term arose within the past few decades in England to distinguish short government reports from longer, more detailed ones that were bound in blue covers and referred to as ‘blue books’ (not to be confused with the blue books used when taking college exams). A shorter government publication providing a report or position about something was bound in the same white paper as the text – hence, ‘a white paper.’”
To Get Started:
Choose an ethics problem/issue that interests you (such as Sensationalism, Invasion of Privacy, Conflicts of Interest, Deception, Stereotyping, Bias, etc.) and explain how it is related to a specific medium or genre. Example: Invasion of Privacy and Social Media.
Choose an ethics case study (not a lawsuit OR a research study) that represents that media ethics problem. Example: Facebook allowed Cambridge Analytica to steal users’ data, profiting off of the invasion of privacy.
Before you start writing, analyze the topic by using the Potter Box (1. Define the situation, 2. Identify the values of all of the stakeholders in the situation, 3. Identify a principle that helps you to form an ethical decision, 4. Chose your loyalties). NOTE: Use the Potter Box as a way to think through the problem, however, DO NOT organize the paper according to the 4 steps.
Conduct research on the media ethics problem and ethics case study (from academic journals and popular sources). You will need at least 10 references (4 must be from peer reviewed academic journal research articles).
Paper Content:
Based on what you learned, write a persuasive essay that clarifies all aspects of the problem. Provide details, background, history and statistics on the situation (e.g. Facebook sold the data of 87 million users to the political research company “Cambridge Analytica” who worked for the Trump Campaign in 2016. This was an invasion of privacy).
To conclude: Make a recommendation by the end of the paper that could provide a solution to the media ethics problem and help resolve related problems for the future. You must base that solution (remedy) on ONE ethical principle from the Potter Box (Ethical Principles for Media Ethics)
Actions
CAUTION: The paper/presentation must focus on media ethics, NOT a lawsuit or academic research studies. Do not use a lawsuit (a legal case) to represent the problem. If you find that there is a lawsuit that resulted because of the ethical problem, you may include information on it, but only for the sake of providing additional context on the topic. Do not make the lawsuit the focus of the paper/presentation.
PAPER REQUIREMENTS:
Label files in the following format: Last Name, First Name; White Paper (or White Paper Presentation); Coms 302 (& section)
Include word count on Page 1 (list of works cited not included).
Include ONE ethical principle in your FINAL paragraph as your solution to the problem. Put it in BOLD. Include the definition.
List work cited on a separate page at the end. Number references 1-10. List your 4 peer reviewed journal articles first (#1-4).
Work cited: Use MLA or APA style. Use complete information.
***There was a presentation to go with this paper (attached) that I have already completed. However, my professor said it is more of a research study, rather than an ethics case study. If you can find an ethics case study to base the paper on, that would be fantastic 🙂

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