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Week 7 – PRIVACY: Where do you get it? “I’m a celebrity too…”

June 29, 2011

Today’s seminar has allowed me to know more about the public’s right to know, needs to know, and wants to know. And that is exactly what I will talk about in today’s entry.

First of all, a senior journalist once said that “we are now in a world in which peephole journalism will print anything – true or false, that is said by anyone – sick or otherwise, on the grounds that the subject is a public figure and therefore the public has a “right to know”? what sort of “right” is this?” (McNair, 2009)

This is perhaps what led to the breach of privacy of certain public figures. Sometimes, journalists and reporters try so hard to gain news that is juicy and thus attracts people’s attention, in order to compete in a commercial prospect. An example of this can be seen in the photo of Vanessa Hudgens and Zac Efron, two ‘Disney’ sweethearts, in a sex shop in LA. It just leaked unto the Internet by a person who met them at the store and purposely asked to take a picture of them. But of course they wouldn’t agree that if it was to create a sensational story and that being a ‘Disney’ figure and an adult are two different things. This shows that journalists like to post something in order to receive much attention, even though it means going into someone’s private life. Secondly, the Gawker Stalker, also got into the spotlight because of their celebrities ‘stalking’ activities, which was then insulted in a Jimmy Kimmel interview.

Going back to the first point – the differences between public’s right to know, needs to know, and wants to know. ‘The right to know” always refer to those that affect public’s life directly, such as crime committed by a legal authority. “Need to know” is something that may ‘somehow’ affect your life if you are not informed of it; such as the follow-up story about the crime and their potential second attempt. Interestingly and expectedly, what public “wants to know” is the least important among the three, but yet receives much attention. An example of this maybe; the scrutiny of crime committer daily activities, and those mentioned in the 3rd paragraph.

To conclude, these categories perhaps act as a good filter of information for professional journalists that’s going to run/write their story.

Reference:

McNair, B, 2009, News and Journalism in the UK, Routledge, Oxon.

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