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MCS 343 SHORT RESEARCH PAPERS
SHORT RESEARCH PAPER:
Select ONE of these paper topics.
EITHER
SHORT RESEARCH PAPER 1:
Watch “The National Anthem,” Season 1, Episode 1, Black Mirror. 2011 (Netflix)
Black Mirror is a drama/satire anthology series which explores issues of ethics, morality and law, by
examining society’s relationship with technology.
“The National Anthem” is a British political thriller in which fictional Prime Minister Michael Callow faces
a huge and shocking dilemma when fictional Princess Susannah, a much-loved member of the Royal
Family, is kidnapped.
According to one IMDb.com reviewer, “It’s certainly not pleasurable to watch, it’s disgusting,
outrageous, appalling, far beyond the limits of good taste, disrespectful with any generic conventions,
etc. But it is the vehicle to communicate something important, to force a valuable reflection on the
audience and make a bold point.”
What are the ethical points that “The National Anthem” makes? Citing as many ethical frameworks as
you want to, consider these questions:
•
•
•
What are the moral and ethical choices presented here? Consider all aspects of the narrative.
Within which ethical frameworks must the Prime Minister, either voluntarily or involuntarily,
operate?
What, finally, should he do?
Write a minimum of 1500 words, double spaced, in MLA or APA format.
You must cite a minimum of 4 sources:
“The National Anthem”
The text book
At least 2 other sources
The citations for each of these two additional works MUST be ANNOTATED. This means that each of
these citations must be followed by a brief (approximately 150 word) descriptive and evaluative
paragraph. This is the annotation. Its purpose is to inform the reader of the relevance, accuracy, and
quality of the source(s) cited. THIS IS AN IMPORTANT ASPECT OF THE ASSIGNMENT: DO NOT
IGNORE IT.
Lack of an annotated bibliography will result in a 10 point deduction.
NOTE: Dictionaries, Wikipedia and IMDb DO NOT qualify as sources.
YOUR CITATIONS PAGE MUST CONFORM TO ACCEPTED MLA OR APA FORMAT.
Again: This citations page DOES NOT constitute part of the 1500 word minimum.
IF YOU NEED HELP WITH ANY ASPECT OF YOUR WRITING, INCLUDING FORMATTING,
CONSULT THE DEPAUL WRITING CENTER, 312-362-6726.
OR
SHORT RESEARCH PAPER 2:
Recently, Internet users have had the opportunity to view naked photographs of celebrities (which were
obtained without approval, from private iCloud accounts, and then—again without consent—distributed
widely).
They were also able to watch journalists and an aid worker being beheaded by a member of a terrorist
organization that then uploaded the videos of the killings to various social media channels.
They were also invited to watch a woman being rendered unconscious by a punch from a football player
who was her fiancé at the time; the video of that incident was obtained from a surveillance camera inside a
hotel elevator.
More recently, they were invited to watch murders and suicides on Facebook Live.
These cases have been accompanied by heated debates around the issues of journalism ethics and the
responsibilities of social media platforms. Increasingly, though, a question is arising about the responsibility
of the Internet users themselves—the consumers of online content. The question is, should they watch?
“Would You Watch [the beheading videos]?” ask CNN and ABC News.
“Should You Watch the Ray Rice Assault Video?” asks Shape magazine.
“Should We Look—Or Look Away?” asks Canada’s National Post.
And, in a broader article about the “consequences and import of ubiquitous, Internet-connected
photography” (and video), The Atlantic’s Robinson Mayer reflects on all three of the cases noted above; his
piece is titled “Pics or It Didn’t Happen.”i
Many commentators have argued that to watch those videos or look at those pictures is a violation of the
privacy of the victims depicted in them; that not watching is a sign of respect; or that the act of watching
might cause new harm to the victims or to people associated with them (friends, family members, etc.).
Others have argued that watching the beheading videos is necessary “if the depravity of war is to be
understood and, hopefully, dealt with,” or that watching the videos of Ray Rice hitting his fiancée will help
change people’s attitudes toward domestic violence.
Using as many ethical frameworks as you think are relevant, consider these questions:
•
•
•
•
Would it be unethical to watch the videos discussed above?
Would it be unethical to look at the photos discussed above?
Are the three cases addressed above so distinct from each other that one can’t give a single
answer about them all?
What makes the ethical issues in these cases similar or different?
After carefully exploring the ethical issues in these cases, what is your own personal opinion about viewing
these videos or photos?
Write a minimum of 1500 words, double spaced, in MLA or APA format.
You must cite a minimum of 4 sources, not including the source videos on which this assignment is based.
So—you must cite:
The text book
At least 3 other sources
The citations for each of these three additional works MUST be ANNOTATED. This means that each of
these citations must be followed by a brief (approximately 150 word) descriptive and evaluative paragraph.
This is the annotation. Its purpose is to inform the reader of the relevance, accuracy, and quality of the
source(s) cited. THIS IS AN IMPORTANT ASPECT OF THE ASSIGNMENT: DO NOT IGNORE IT.
Lack of an annotated bibliography will result in a 10 point deduction.
NOTE: Dictionaries, Wikipedia and IMDb DO NOT qualify as sources.
YOUR CITATIONS PAGE MUST CONFORM TO ACCEPTED MLA OR APA FORMAT.
Again: This citations page DOES NOT constitute part of the 1500 word minimum.
IF YOU NEED HELP WITH ANY ASPECT OF YOUR WRITING, INCLUDING FORMATTING, CONSULT
THE DEPAUL WRITING CENTER, 312-362-6726.
THIS ASSIGNMENT IS DUE AT THE END OF THE 5-WEEK SESSION.
MCS 343 SHORT RESEARCH PAPERS
SHORT RESEARCH PAPER:
Select ONE of these paper topics.
EITHER
SHORT RESEARCH PAPER 1:
Watch “The National Anthem,” Season 1, Episode 1, Black Mirror. 2011 (Netflix)
Black Mirror is a drama/satire anthology series which explores issues of ethics, morality and law, by
examining society’s relationship with technology.
“The National Anthem” is a British political thriller in which fictional Prime Minister Michael Callow faces
a huge and shocking dilemma when fictional Princess Susannah, a much-loved member of the Royal
Family, is kidnapped.
According to one IMDb.com reviewer, “It’s certainly not pleasurable to watch, it’s disgusting,
outrageous, appalling, far beyond the limits of good taste, disrespectful with any generic conventions,
etc. But it is the vehicle to communicate something important, to force a valuable reflection on the
audience and make a bold point.”
What are the ethical points that “The National Anthem” makes? Citing as many ethical frameworks as
you want to, consider these questions:
•
•
•
What are the moral and ethical choices presented here? Consider all aspects of the narrative.
Within which ethical frameworks must the Prime Minister, either voluntarily or involuntarily,
operate?
What, finally, should he do?
Write a minimum of 1500 words, double spaced, in MLA or APA format.
You must cite a minimum of 4 sources:
“The National Anthem”
The text book
At least 2 other sources
The citations for each of these two additional works MUST be ANNOTATED. This means that each of
these citations must be followed by a brief (approximately 150 word) descriptive and evaluative
paragraph. This is the annotation. Its purpose is to inform the reader of the relevance, accuracy, and
quality of the source(s) cited. THIS IS AN IMPORTANT ASPECT OF THE ASSIGNMENT: DO NOT
IGNORE IT.
Lack of an annotated bibliography will result in a 10 point deduction.
NOTE: Dictionaries, Wikipedia and IMDb DO NOT qualify as sources.
YOUR CITATIONS PAGE MUST CONFORM TO ACCEPTED MLA OR APA FORMAT.
Again: This citations page DOES NOT constitute part of the 1500 word minimum.
IF YOU NEED HELP WITH ANY ASPECT OF YOUR WRITING, INCLUDING FORMATTING,
CONSULT THE DEPAUL WRITING CENTER, 312-362-6726.
OR
SHORT RESEARCH PAPER 2:
Recently, Internet users have had the opportunity to view naked photographs of celebrities (which were
obtained without approval, from private iCloud accounts, and then—again without consent—distributed
widely).
They were also able to watch journalists and an aid worker being beheaded by a member of a terrorist
organization that then uploaded the videos of the killings to various social media channels.
They were also invited to watch a woman being rendered unconscious by a punch from a football player
who was her fiancé at the time; the video of that incident was obtained from a surveillance camera inside a
hotel elevator.
More recently, they were invited to watch murders and suicides on Facebook Live.
These cases have been accompanied by heated debates around the issues of journalism ethics and the
responsibilities of social media platforms. Increasingly, though, a question is arising about the responsibility
of the Internet users themselves—the consumers of online content. The question is, should they watch?
“Would You Watch [the beheading videos]?” ask CNN and ABC News.
“Should You Watch the Ray Rice Assault Video?” asks Shape magazine.
“Should We Look—Or Look Away?” asks Canada’s National Post.
And, in a broader article about the “consequences and import of ubiquitous, Internet-connected
photography” (and video), The Atlantic’s Robinson Mayer reflects on all three of the cases noted above; his
piece is titled “Pics or It Didn’t Happen.”i
Many commentators have argued that to watch those videos or look at those pictures is a violation of the
privacy of the victims depicted in them; that not watching is a sign of respect; or that the act of watching
might cause new harm to the victims or to people associated with them (friends, family members, etc.).
Others have argued that watching the beheading videos is necessary “if the depravity of war is to be
understood and, hopefully, dealt with,” or that watching the videos of Ray Rice hitting his fiancée will help
change people’s attitudes toward domestic violence.
Using as many ethical frameworks as you think are relevant, consider these questions:
•
•
•
•
Would it be unethical to watch the videos discussed above?
Would it be unethical to look at the photos discussed above?
Are the three cases addressed above so distinct from each other that one can’t give a single
answer about them all?
What makes the ethical issues in these cases similar or different?
After carefully exploring the ethical issues in these cases, what is your own personal opinion about viewing
these videos or photos?
Write a minimum of 1500 words, double spaced, in MLA or APA format.
You must cite a minimum of 4 sources, not including the source videos on which this assignment is based.
So—you must cite:
The text book
At least 3 other sources
The citations for each of these three additional works MUST be ANNOTATED. This means that each of
these citations must be followed by a brief (approximately 150 word) descriptive and evaluative paragraph.
This is the annotation. Its purpose is to inform the reader of the relevance, accuracy, and quality of the
source(s) cited. THIS IS AN IMPORTANT ASPECT OF THE ASSIGNMENT: DO NOT IGNORE IT.
Lack of an annotated bibliography will result in a 10 point deduction.
NOTE: Dictionaries, Wikipedia and IMDb DO NOT qualify as sources.
YOUR CITATIONS PAGE MUST CONFORM TO ACCEPTED MLA OR APA FORMAT.
Again: This citations page DOES NOT constitute part of the 1500 word minimum.
IF YOU NEED HELP WITH ANY ASPECT OF YOUR WRITING, INCLUDING FORMATTING, CONSULT
THE DEPAUL WRITING CENTER, 312-362-6726.
THIS ASSIGNMENT IS DUE AT THE END OF THE 5-WEEK SESSION.

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