Home > future of journalism, journalism industry > NPPA Multimedia Immersions: Privacy

NPPA Multimedia Immersions: Privacy


(Note: This will be similar for all the posts concerning the NPPA Multimedia Immersion session so skip if you’ve read before.)

I absolutely love that the National Press Photographer’s Association streamed some of their Multimedia Immersion sessions live.

Tuesday’s session was on Ethics and the Law for multimedia. The panelists included Mickey Ostericher – NPPA Counsel, Roy Gutterman – Newhouse professor and Barbara Fought – Newhouse professor.

Much of the talk focused around shield laws (and the burning question of our time — namely, who is a journalist), privacy and copyright laws.


There were several points about photos and copyright made during the Ethics and Law sessions.

Basically, it’s what Barbara Fought said.

Law takes a long time to catch up to technology

First, we talked about a privacy law called “false light.” You can’t take a photo of someone and use it as a representation of something else that wasn’t true in the context of the photograph. This is also similar to the appropriation laws, as explained by Mickey Ostericher.

Say someone is a smoker for example and you get someone smoking. It’s one thing to use that for a smoking story, for example … but, if you show that person as a representation of smoking, you could violate privacy laws.

Additionally, photographers and videographers in a news mindset can “open a whole other can of worms” when shooting for their own personal web sites and personal projects. Basically, the rights we have as journalists do not follow through to our personal lives or side projects and it can be hard to compartmentalize the difference when we’re all working on multiple things at once.

One point that I thought was really interesting was that even wedding photographers need to be careful of privacy infringement. One of the panelists brought up that a wedding photographer only has a contract with the wedding couple, so posting photos of anyone else on their website without a model release could open the photographer up to lawsuits for using a likeness without permission.

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