Press intrusion and privacy: where should the lines be drawn?


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On the 4th July 2011, ‘The BBC’ published a story on the Milly Dowler phone hacking scandal.

The subject of the newspaper article was how an investigator at ‘The News of The World’ had allegedly hacked into the phone of murdered schoolgirl, Milly Dowler. The angle is how the phone hacking allegations have had a negative effect on Milly Dowler’s family and interfered with the police investigation.

The phone hacking scandal is something that’s been at the centre of the media for the past few years and eventually foresaw the closure of ‘The News of The World’.

Glen Mulcaire hacked into the teenager’s voicemail while she was missing. ‘The Guardian’ newspaper even go so far to say that he had intercepted the voicemails and stated that the news of the world had also deleted some, this took a toll on police investigations and even gave the parents of the 13 year old girl false hope.

Phone hacking consists of personal communications being expropriated to benefit news cooperation’s. ‘The News of The World’ isn’t the first newspaper to face the backlash and consequences of phone hacking and it certainly won’t be the last.

There were many individuals working for ‘The News of The World’ that took part in the phone hacking saga, this is evident in the book Hack Attack: How the truth caught up with Rupert Murdoch, the book identifies the roles that many individuals played, there was a system. A quote from the book that supports this is “Mulcaire went to work on Gordon Taylor. By 22 February, he had recorded eleven messages that had been left on Taylor’s phone. Mulcaire passed the tape to Miskiw who gave it to a secretary in the Manchester office, who typed out the messages. This was a well-oiled system.” (2015, pp. 43)

The hacking of Milly Dowler’s phone was unethical, not only was her phone hacked but voicemail messages had been eradicated. As previously stated it took a toll on the police investigation as well as giving the parents false hope that their little girl may be found alive.

Other Sources: 

Davies, Nick. (2015, pp.43) Hack Attack: How the truth caught up with Rupert Murdoch: Vintage


How has citizen journalism helped our understanding of a particular news event?


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On the 22nd of November 1963, an event captured on film by Abraham Zapruder, a Russian Jewish immigrant, took place which shook the entire world, the assassination of President John F Kennedy.

Abraham Zapruder, a clothing manufacturer who was living in Dallas, Texas at the time, is the perfect example for how citizen journalism has helped our understanding of a particular news event.

There were three copies of Abraham’s footage, a quote to support this is “Officially, the Zapruder film was developed in Dallas on the afternoon of November 22 1963. Zapruder had three extra copies made, two of which were given to the secret service, who, on November 23, 1963, gave one copy to the FBI. The original and third copy were sold to LIFE on November 23,, 1963, for USD 150,000” (2012). As stated in the quote one was given to the secret service, the other to the FBI and the other was sold to LIFE magazine for $150,000. The footage has been seen by millions of people from around the world, although if asked it is highly unlikely anyone would know where the footage had come from.

There are even news articles about how he almost didn’t take his camera with him that day, it’s really difficult to imagine how difficult it may have been on the investigation without that film. His 26 seconds of film became vital to the investigation, as stated in an article by the Daily Mail, Zapruder’s film had allowed investigators to establish intervals between gun shots.

It is arguable that if it hadn’t been for the film, the investigation wouldn’t have progressed as it did and they may never have arrested the killer, Lee Harvey Oswald.

In another article on the Daily Mail that supports the rise of citizen journalism, Chris Shaw, ITN Productions editorial director, explains how citizen journalism may be beneficial in gathering news and footage in places like Syria, as those are places where it can be difficult for journalists to tread.

The truth is, we are surrounded by citizen journalism, and it is thanks to the great wide web and the advancement of technology that we have access to it. Journalism is evolving in a way that everyone can contribute and provide information to the public that may not otherwise be presented in major tabloids.