Friday, April 10, 2009

When a private life is all too public

The Internet is now at the centre of the always uneasy relation between journalists and PR professionals. Having worked on both sides, I know only too well the problems each side can have with the other.  In the past few days I have been reading Deirdre Breakenridge's PR2.0: New Media, New Tools, New Audiences. 

She talks about some of the tools now available to help identify the best specialist journalists to target for particular campaigns; the information can include the usual contact numbers, email addresses, deadline details, special interests, etc. However, she also points out so much more information is now available on the Internet that it is easy to track down far more personal details. So it can be easy to track down a journalist's previous jobs, Facebook pages, where he or she went to college, etc. 

Much of this information would have originally been put on the Internet by the journalist. I am frequently amazed at the very personal information people voluntarily put on publicly accessible website pages. Is this information fair game or too personal to use? Surely there can be no ethical arguments against using it as it is in the public domain, usually put there by the journalist. After all, every journalist I know wouldn't hesitate for a moment to use the same information in a story he or she was researching.

Does this mean there no such thing as a private life anymore? Would PRs be happy at similar information being published in a journalist's newspaper or magazine? I think not. So where should the line be drawn? This is one of these questions that has a different answer for different people. Like all ethical questions there is no easy answer. Or is there?

1 comment:

  1. Hii Kevin,

    I think, these days people are more open in speaking about their personal life which is why it has become an easy access for the PR practitioners to get as many possible information about the journalists!!

    You can call it an irony of web life!!..u go for networking and leave all your footprints that even strangers can catch you...there is no private, professional or personal life!!