Ethics Essay Plan

A photojournalist has to get the picture. Does the end justify the means? Write 2000 words

Essay Checklist:

Case Study

1. Introduction – set out what your essay will cover.
2. Define what you understand by the phrase ‘The Ends Justifies the Means’. Include some quotes from your reading.
3. Introduce the photographer that you have chosen and say why you have chosen them. If you have read anything about their ethical approach include some quotes.
4. Analyse their working practices and photographs within the framework of the ideas you have set out in 2.
5. Form a conclusion about whether the ends justifies the means.


1. Introduction – set out what your essay will cover
2. Define what you understand by the phrase “The End Justifies the Means”. Use theory quotes for this section and the following section…
3. Introduce the theory system that you will use to consider this idea.
4. Analyse the concept of the End Justifies the Means in the light of this theory and apply your ideas to photojournalism. Again use quotes to back up your ideas.
5. Form a conclusion about whether the ends justifies the means.

General Essay Advice

1. Set out your point of view at the beginning and stick to it, do not go off at a tangent.
2. Only one idea per paragraph
3. Keep it simple and straightforward
4. Use Harvard referencing for quotes (see the library website for exact instructions).
5. Include a bibliography and a list of websites you have used for your essay.

The Ends Justify The Means?

In the Classic Utilitarianism (written by Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill) Bentham’s best-known claim implies ‘an act is morally right if that act causes the greatest happiness for the greatest number’. In the utilitarian point of view, it can be strongly considered ethical to harm or damage the reputation of someone if it’s beneficial to the wider community. The ends justify the means because the actions taken have succeeded in achieving an end that benefits the majority of people therefore the actions are considered to be ethical.

‘The Means’ = is the process the photojournalist takes in order to get what he/she needs.
‘The Ends’ = is the outcome of the process, which for the photojournalist is the final image that they desire.

In the world of photojournalism, competition is vast so it’s crucial to capture the best shots, even if risks are involved. The photojournalist has to put every effort into getting the right image, it can be debatable as to weather the process one takes to getting this image is ethical or immoral. Photojournalists must do whatever it takes to come out with the picture that they need. This can be done in so many ways, some in which people perceive as been wicked but its what the job is all about. The requirements within this completive field of journalism involve many risks, some of which are life threatening if it involves capturing war images. However, this is what gets you the money, and a colossal sum of that.
The module guide states that I can approach this essay with a case study of a documentary photographers work or as a pure theory essay. For the essay I will be studying the work of photojournalist James Nachtwey, who is considered to be one of the greatest war photographers of the recent decades. James is dedicated to documenting wars, social, critical and conflict issues. After studying some of his images I believe his work can be good examples the type of pictures photojournalists have to get, that show the some of the most shocking and distressing issues. In todays era people don’t really believe what is happening until they see graphical images. Without the ‘pain of seeing’ these tragic truths, people wouldn’t really know the real truth and the harsh reality of this word. It would be based on imagination from what they is read in the newspapers or social media stories.
Studying James Nachtwey and the images he has taken, my case study will be based on war photographs and add theory from my readings into utilitarianism that will show that the images taken could hurt the subjects or people they love but will benefit the general welfare.


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