First reports are filtering in of today's meeting at the Columbia School of Journalism, which was called by University staff because of suspicions that students somehow cheated on an ethics class exam. (The Friday section of the class "Critical Issues in Journalism" was compelled to attend today's 1:45 p.m. meeting, reported yesterday by Radar online.)
A new (and seemingly extremely loaded) essay question has been distributed to the class.
The essay question, and a very special, very ethical Gawker contest, after the jump.
Exam Essay Question III:
Write an essay of up to 500 words addressing the following situation:
You are the executive editor of a newspaper. You receives a tip from a credible source that one or more unspecified articles in recent editions of the newspaper contain fabricated material. No more details are given. Although word of the allegation quickly spreads through the newsroom, no one on the reporting staff admits to responsibility. As executive editor, what are your concerns and what do you do? Why? What are your expectations of the staff's reaction to the situation and your response to it?
Be sure to justify the actions you choose to take.
You are allowed to use your own brain and whatever other nonhuman sources you want in preparing this essay, but you are not allowed to discuss it with other human beings.
The essay will be evaluated as part of the final exam. It is due by 5:00pm, Thursday, December 7, and should be placed in the box labeled "Critical Issues Essays" in the deanery on the 7th floor.
We would like to assume that Gawker readers have their own take on the question, and so we're sponsoring the first Gawker Goes to J-School contest. Readers should email their responses to the usual address, and our very partial panel of judges will choose the best one. Discussion with other human beings highly encouraged. The best response will win an internship at the city's best bastion of high-quality, ethical journalism—the Village Voice. Okay, just kidding about the internship. The winner will actually receive a used copy of Critical Issues professor Samuel Freedman's (pictured) Jew vs. Jew: The Struggle for American Jewry. We would've made his newer book Letters to a Young Journalist the prize, but even we wouldn't make our readers suffer through that.