An invasion of privacy or just freedom of press?

The story dominating headlines all around the world last week was about the naked pictures of Prince Harry that emerged from a recent trip to Las Vegas. Whilst in the beginning the story was about whether or not people agreed with what Harry was doing, it quickly changed direction on Friday when the pictures we were all talking about were printed in The Sun. The debate is now about whether this is an invasion of the Prince’s privacy or just the freedom of the press to print what they believe is in the public’s interest.

The argument about what is in the public’s interest and what is in the interest of the public has been ongoing for many years with the decision ultimatley coming down to each individual’s morals and beliefs.  Is it really in the public’s interest for a newspaper to print such images?  Or do they have an ulterior motive because they think that by being the first paper to print them they will make a great deal of money?

David Dinsmore, managing editor of The Sun, has defended his decision to print the pictures and believes that if we have all been able to freely access the pictures online then why should they not be printed in a newspaper. In my opinion, when the pictures were made available online people could choose whether they looked at them or not, printing them on the front page of one of the most popular tabloid newspapers means people no longer have that choice.

Currently, we are awaiting the results of the Leveson enquiry into media ethics and how the press should be regulated going forward. It will be interesting to see how these results affects images like this being published in future. The fact that only one newspaper has printed these pictures already shows the impact the Leveson enquiry is having.

Some may think the press are looking at what really is in the interest of the public and choosing what content they publish so that it is relevant and interesting to their readers. Others will say this shows that the enquiry is scaring organisations into not publishing content because of their fear of what consequences they might face; ultimately, leading to press that does not work in the interest of the public.

Going forward it will be interesting to see whether any other newspapers print these images or any other images that may appear. It will also be interesting to see how the Press Complaints Commission reacts to the situation. Someone once said “it takes a lifetime to build a reputation and a second to ruin it”, I wonder what impact these pictures have on the reputation of the Royal Family and in particular, the reputation Harry has worked hard on building in the past few years.

What do you think? By printing these pictures, has the newspaper invaded Harry’s privacy? Or is it in our interest to see them?

The unwritten rules in the PR world

BP’s former Head of Media Relations Neil Chapman did a guest lecture at University this morning. He firstly talked about how his career started as a ‘story teller’, as he calls it, on the Evening Gazette and how he believes the job he does today can still be known as just basic ‘story telling’. He even goes as far as describing himself as a ‘reporter with a conscience’.  Most of the lecture however, was spent talking about the work and decisions he was a part of during BP’s Deepwater Horizon crisis.

It was interesting to hear Neil talk about the decisions BP made during the crisis and what they are still doing nearly a year on. Neil no longer works for BP but he stills talks very highly of them. During the lecture, Neil made a very relevant point that really stuck with me. ‘ Face to face discussion is still the best trust builder’, I completely agree with this statement, I believe that no matter how much social media changes the way we do PR or just communicate with our friends, the only way to build a real solid relationship with somebody is by having a face to face conversation with them.

He concluded his lecture with some helpful unwritten rules, that he believes will help students when they go out into the world of PR. He believes these tips will ensure students make the most of their career:

  • Employees should always have energy, even if working after midnight. They should always have a positive attitude and should always take an interest in the organisation they are working for.
  • Compliment and complement your peers- you work better as a team that way.
  • ‘I don’t know’ isn’t said enough- admit when you don’t know something and then discuss what you can do to find out about it.
  • An interview is a sales opportunity, it gives you a chance to sell you and your skills.
  • You remember 100% of what you feel, not what was said.
  • To tell the story, you have to tell the whole story.
  • You need to get good information to the right people, that’s what it’s all about.

I think everyone of us, students or not, can take at least one of the tips from the seven above and use it to benefit us in our careers or on the long winding road of life!