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ASSIGNMENT ONE BRIEF
MAC2MLE – Media, Law and Ethics 2019
This assignment is worth 40 per cent of the unit's assessment. ?Deadline: 11.55pm, Friday, 6 September, 2019. All assignments must be submitted via Turnitin on LMS. NO HARD COPY IS REQUIRED.
The essay and court story are alternative assignments, each due on the same day at the same time. Choose one or the other. Do not attempt both. You will submit a reflective piece with the assignment you have chosen (see brief below for reflective piece).
ESSAY
All essays must be written using Harvard style referencing. For help with this, see the library’s online “Harvard Referencing Module.” Your task is to write a 1,500-word essay on ONE of the following topics. All essays MUST discuss at least one major case study. Remember to state the question at the top of your essay
1. Analyse two recent contempt cases that have appeared before Australian courts and present an argument for or against the judgments delivered in those cases. Using Pearson and Polden (2015) or (2011) as a primary reference, identify the category of contempt in which each case falls.
2. The presumption in our legal system is that courts are open unless being open prevents justice being done. If that’s the case, is the number of suppression orders being made in Victoria effectively closing the court system to the public or protecting the administration of justice?
3. The Geoffrey Rush defamation case raised questions about celebrities and their reputation. Looking at the facts of the case and court decisions from it, how could journalists write about famous people without risking expensive defamation court battles?
4. In the Australian legal system, juries have been the subject of debate for many years. Should we have them for criminal trials or will justice be done better through trial by judge alone?
5. Social media publications have caused concern in our legal system for fear they could prejudice jurors and cause trials to collapse. Suggest at least two changes that might help eliminate or reduce the effect of these publications on jurors. You can use current or recent examples to help explain your reasoning.
Alternatively, you are free to develop your own essay questions and topics, as long as they are relevant to topics we have covered in the first weeks of MAC2MLE– but Peter must agree to these in writing before you proceed.
COURT STORY
You will write a court report and compile a breakout box with a combined maximum total of 700 words. The court story must be at least 500 words. This is an exercise in news gathering, not fiction. The report will be based on a court visit and/or a written court decision. [Note: The written decision option is designed for students who might have a family emergency, an accident or illness, or some other unexpected event that limits their ability to attend court. You would be expected to verify that situation through a medical certificate or communication from your family.]
You will observe court reporting rules and conventions as outlined in lectures and seminars.
If you attend court proceedings, the story will be based on what you see and hear in court. You will not approach police, lawyers, judges, magistrates or victims for interviews. We will discuss methods of obtaining and checking information. You will be expected to dress as though you are a reporter at work. That means no t-shirts, no jeans and no trainers. The story will be written for a local or state mainstream newspaper/website, either for publication “today” or tomorrow”. You will NOT need to write a headline or precede. You will write the story according to the upstart style guide.
In preparation, we will look at court websites to peruse court lists and plan the likely venue for our court visit and story. TIP: Do not leave this until the last minute. Gathering and writing the story is harder than it looks.
You can find breakout box examples under the Assessment and Resources tab on LMS.
REFLECTIVE PIECES
A 500-word reflective piece is to be submitted with the essay or court story, but as a separate part of the same document. This assignment is worth 10 percent of the unit’s assessment. Deadline: 11.55pm, 6 September, 2019.
All assignments must be submitted via Turnitin on LMS. NO HARD COPY IS REQUIRED.
Essay Reflective Piece
You will be asked to reflect on the sources used and the impact of journalism in the area you were researching for the essay question. A separate document showing some of the questions you might answer in your reflection is available via LMS in the Assessments and Resources section. Any extra sources used (not in the essay reference list) should be referenced, but they will NOT count in the 500-word limit.
Court Story Reflective Piece
In this piece, you will reflect on the process of researching, gathering and writing your court story. Any extra sources should be referenced, but they will NOT count towards the 500-word limit. Again, a separate document available on LMS will suggest questions you might try to answer.

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