Although not strictly adhered to today, respect for privacy is an important media practice that both individual journalists and media houses should follow. Many reporters today seek to humiliate and embarrass the subjects.
While such privacy-invading gossip may earn a media outlet fans in their first days of existence, it eventually backfires and such houses lose credibility. To avoid intruding on people’s privacy, it is always important to:
- Avoid Following Public Figures into Private Spaces
Although most public figures– celebrities, politicians, etc. – are imagesetters in society, they require their own privacy too. Do not keep bugging them at hotels or sneaking into their homes just to get a story. Do not expose their family, especially children, to the public if they have not permitted you.
- Do Not Record Without Revealing
The good old ‘on record’ and ‘off record’ signage is still valuable today. Always let story subjects know when what they are saying is going to be part of the story and when it is not. If a subject asks you not to write/report something they said, then be decent and strike it off.
Off the record remarks can be great ways to approach respondents; do not abuse them.