Assignment 1 – Car In The Canal Case Study

Car In The Canal
Adapted From RTNDF: Newsroom Ethics (Fourth Edition)

A woman named Karla Gutierrez was driving on the Florida Turnpike in Miami when her car ran off the road and into a canal. As her car began to sink, Karla called Miami-Dade County dispatch on her cell phone. She was confused about her location and gave the dispatcher several conflicting locations. The call lasted for three-and-a-half minutes as the dispatcher tried to keep Gutierrez calm, send help and pinpoint the sinking car. Gutierrez became frantic as the car sank, then the line went silent as she drowned. The car was located about 45 minutes after Gutierrez made the call.

You are a reporter at a local tv station. You have been given a copy of the 9-1-1 call to use as you see fit.

Note:  You do not need permission from law enforcement, the family or anyone else to air any or all of the call. 9-1-1 calls are public record. Also, airing the tape is NOT an invasion of privacy. Do not make this a legal argument about privacy.

Raw Tape of 911 Call


After viewing the video in its entirety, use your decision memo guide to set up the problem, offer a solution, identify the dilemma, weight the alternatives and cite an ethical rationale in justifying your decision.

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