Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Don't Read!! Personal!!

Don’t Read, Personal! Now that to me is a pretty clear message. It was written by Anna Nicole Smith on the inside of her diary. Excerpts are being released to the Associated Press, and they are running with it.

I understand that from a business standpoint it is probably a good idea to let her personal thoughts be known to the public. After all, she had more than her fair share of coverage when she died. But, it still makes me wonder what kind of person would release such private thoughts of a person who no longer has any control over who is reading them.

Now, like I have said in previous blogs, if you don’t release the information… someone else will to get ahead. This is true in many circumstances in the media. But, when do personal values finally play a role in the business decision you make. While I was intrigued with reading parts of the diary, I felt like I was violating her privacy.

I do not think it is fair to be releasing excerpts from someone’s diary. It is just wrong.

“The public now can discover that she was delighted by rough sex, ecstatic over the prospect of plastic surgery for her breasts, and fearful of a jealous boyfriend,” the AP writes.

First off, is this really news? Second, what kind of person wants to let out this personal, private information?

These questions bring me to my next point. I really did not stop to analyze and think about what is newsworthy until I came to this school. I did not stop to think about how information that is being reported is in direct conflict with everything I believe in. While I always absorbed the information and talked about it on occasion, I probably would not have put it out there. In this business, like I said, someone else will.

It honestly makes me wonder if this is what I want to do for the rest of my life. The farther and farther I get into analyzing the news every week, the farther I want to get from it. Most of these stories are not helping anybody. This Anna Nicole story is just down right hurtful. Her private thoughts are now out for the world to see.

This is not the first time I have had these thoughts either. I feel like I am in a compromising situation. I am already here and will have this degree. But, do I really want to cover stories such as this one that I feel is so wrong. Absolutely not! So where does that leave me? Is there a place for me in this business? Everyday I wonder that. I do not think it is worth it to me to compromise my values, in this case, “Do unto others as you’ll have done to you.” I would never want anybody to do this to me. So how could I ever do it to someone else?

Ultimately, stories like this that are released on a daily basis make me question my decision on whether or not this is the right profession for me. While unfortunate, it crosses my mind daily.


At Wednesday, May 16, 2007, Blogger ji said...

This just goes to show us that most journalist and news outlets have no MORAL COMPASS. Often times, journalists are so obsessed with getting the story, scooping others and ratings that they forget what it means to be tasteful. In the case of Anna Nicole Smith, at this point, the AP is disrespecting the deceased. I would not print her diary because it is not newsorthy, it is a sad attempt to add shock value to further exploit her death. Most journalist are not moral, they are pests. I am not shocked or surprised at this insensitive and ruthless behavior on the APs part. But should we blame the reporters who report on this, the producers and head honchos who assign these stories or the sickos who sell these diaries to the media for money? All in all, it seems like all of these said groups of people are disgusting. Like you, I think long and hard about sticking a mic in some poor persons face who has lost a family member or exploiting someone during a vulnerable time--this type of journalism is why people quit the business.

At Thursday, May 17, 2007, Blogger KY said...

As degrading as the following statement is, I feel like it's a pattern that is blatant, especially among tabloid journalism nowadays: Celebrities are not humans, they are essentially objects that the tabloids treat in ways that are foreign to anyone that has a conscience. Anna Nicole Smith lost her title as a human once her exposure skyrocketed and people couldn't wait to see what the next crazy thing this "celebrity" would do. In this way, I'm not entirely surprised that her personal effects were triffled through - as opposed to respecting a person's privacy, she is a celebrity, and the people want to know. Apparently, being a celebrity means handing over your "human being" card and strips you of the respect reserved for non-celebrities.
On a separate note, who cares about what is in her diary? Is it even coherent anyways??

At Friday, May 18, 2007, Blogger AJS said...

I agree with your general sentiments, AG, and the news business is a conflicting one. We want to help or benefit people in some way, but we mostly end up giving them crap, and sometimes we end up interfering in people's private lives.

That said, I think the ANS diaries are kind of newsworthy, the same way the Cho video was newsworthy -- to see what was going through the mind of a person none of us really understood all that well. Also, you can't libel the dead, and I think it's the same thing here. There's no harm that comes to ANS from reading her diaries, so why not put them out there?

At Friday, May 18, 2007, Blogger AM said...

This is so sick that her diaries were released - where is the line? Is Anna Nicole exceptional, a human being that should not be respected? I cannot believe this either.


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