Privacy in America: The frontier of duty and restraint

Journal of Mass Media Ethics 9 (4):213 – 234 (1994)
Topics at a Poynter Institute privacy conference in December 1992 ranged from the role and obligations of the journalist to the rights of victims. Journalists' responsibility to fulfill a dual role of truthtelling and minimizing harm to vulnerable people in society framed the discussion. The public' s curiosity and media obsessions with information about victims of sex crimes are the first topics to be explored. Bob Steele of the Poynter Institute sets the stage for the delicate balance. Helen Benedict, author of Virgin or Vamp: How the Press Covers Sex Crimes, suggests some reforms regarding this area of news. Patricia Bowman, a victim's advocate, talks about her experience as the victim of the media and of a celebrated sex crime case. Elinor Brecher of the Miami Herald discusses a particularly vexing assignment she recently faced, and Tom French of the St. Petersburg Times expresses concern for the subjects of sensitive personal stories and recommends trying to inform them about the story and help them cope with the intrusion into their private life. In separate articles, J. T. Johnson of Sartor Associates in San Francisco and Nora Paul of the Poynter Institute offer insights into the paradox of individual privacy and public right/desire to know, particularly as the issues arise in today's information society. Finally, Robert Ellis Smith, publisher of Privacy Journal, outlines ways media can approach privacy issues and still feel they are on safe ground; he recommends self-restraint in place of government restrictions. The general theme of the Poynter Conference is restraint and concern for others' responsible usage of information that has the possibility to harm others.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1207/s15327728jmme0904_2
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 16,667
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

5 ( #377,318 of 1,726,564 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

1 ( #369,877 of 1,726,564 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.