Media Ethics as Capstone Professional Course


Image by Headway on UnsplashImage by Headway on UnsplashCapstone classes document what students have learned over the course of their academic careers. Assignments must have practical purposes, especially given student debt, higher tuition rates, and competition for paid internships and employment.

Students in the Greenlee School’s senior media ethics class, accessible at, create a digital portfolio with a personal ethics code. The assignment plays a major role in our assessment and placement efforts, key compliance components for accreditation or reaccreditation by the Accrediting Council for Education in Journalism and Mass Communications. You can view a selection of portfolio links by clicking here. (Students have given written permission to share their links on the class website.)

I began requiring professional portfolios upon teaching media ethics at Ohio University in 1986. Until the late 1990s, student projects were created via video or audio cassette, photographs and print projects, from posters to brochures.

Some students who graduated years ago still maintain their sites. Here’s an example from Angela Krile, president and CEO of Krile Communications, who took my class at Ohio in the mid-1990s. She writes:

Our Core Values

While they are fairly straightforward, we live by them in everything we do:

  • We follow the Golden Rule and the Ten Commandments.
  • We do it right, and when we don’t, we make it right.
  • We care about each other, our work, our clients, and our community.
  • We harness our creativity to help our clients tell their story.
  • Good work and good life are both important. One won’t work without the other.
  • We hire people, not positions.

In this article, I will be posting YouTube instructional videos to save space and to illustrate visually methods and finished products. The portfolio project involves an entire semester’s work. You can view the process via this YouTube video:

Here are portfolio requirements as outlined on the syllabus:

Home Tab : This page is a showcase of what’s inside. Design it attractively with visuals (photo of you) and menu.

About Tab : This page gives viewers a sense of your personality, your dreams, goals, hobbies, etc. Again, include a photo that meshes with your personality.

Resume (or My Bio): The resume has to be designed as a web page. Do not take a photo of your resume and then post it. Do not put a document in a download link. Employers won’t download content onto their phones. This web page represents you. Make it shine.

Work Samples (or separate tabs/dropdown devices for my internship, multimedia, videos, photography, campaigns, social media, class projects, blog, etc.): You should have at least two platforms. Again, DO NOT just provide links and downloads. If you link to another site, such as The Iowa State Daily, to showcase an article, then take a screenshot of the article, make it a thumbnail, briefly describe the content, and then design the page with external links.

Ethics Code: You must have 5-6 values, and again, this must be designed with visuals, illustrations, etc.

Contact Information: Add a visual or even design this tab as a final reminder to attract the viewer.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s