Introduction to Privacy:

Journalists attempt to minimize harm in a number of ways, but one that is of particular importance is respecting a right to privacy. Privacy effects the way reporters and advertisers do their jobs, from the use of cookies or gathered data to tailor advertisements online to the hacking of voicemails and email accounts to find information about a story. Every job within the field of journalism has to overcome challenges facing a citizen’s right to privacy.

Case Study 1

Hulk Hogan was awarded $115 million after Gawker published a video tape of him having sex with a friend’s wife. Hogan argued that Gawker had violated his privacy by publishing the video. The suit comes after a long line of issues Gawker has had with violating privacy and publishing videos or facts that most argue were not relevant to stories.

Case Study 2

The Association of National Advertisers (ANA) is looking at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) proposal to restrict the use of consumer data gathered by companies like Google, Facebook and Apple. The proposal came after the FCC ruled on net-neutrality, which gives the FCC jurisdiction over how businesses distribute customer information.

Possible Classroom Activities:

Each student can write down what they think constitutes private information, then as a class they can compare their answers. This can demonstrate how difficult it is to make decisions as a newsroom or agency to balance reporting or client needs with individual privacy rights. Privacy is a major issue in the public eye with the FBI v. Apple case and the growth of big data as a marketing tool.

Columbia Journalism Review: Privacy v. Right to Know

The Columbia Journalism Review outlines the discussion of a citizen’s right to privacy and public’s right to know the truth.

Financial Times: Privacy and Big Data

In a changing, fast-paced market it is important for advertisers to balance the use of big data and a citizen’s privacy.

AdWeek: Why Advertisers Should Care About White House Data Report

AdWeek provides reasons why advertisers should care about the White House’s report on big data after the NSA leaks by Edward Snowden.

Media Helping Media

Media Helping Media provides a list of resources to help journalists balance privacy and seeking truth in reporting.