Before you gather news and report it, you should be aware of potential privacy violations. The law recognizes the following four privacy torts.

Physical or technological intrusion upon a person’s seclusion, solitude, or private affairs

Public disclosure of (embarrassing) personal or private facts that would be offensive to a reasonable person

  • Potential Defenses:

            ❑ Matters of legitimate public concern (i.e., newsworthiness)
            ❑ Truthful information lawfully obtained from public records; and
            ❑ Consent.

Publicity of information that portrays a person in a false light which would be highly offensive to a reasonable person

  • Potential Defenses:

            ❑ Truth;
            ❑ Consent.

  • Recommendations:

            ❑ Carefully review potential untrue implications of your stories; and
            ❑ Verify facts.

Misappropriation of a person’s name, voice, image, or likeness without his or her permission for an exploitative purpose, such as a commercial use, which benefits the user

  • Potential Defenses:

            ❑ Consent;
            ❑ News and commentary on matters of public concern; and
            ❑ Incidental use.

For more general information on the privacy implications of newsgathering:

Information in this guide is based on general principles of law and is intended for information purposes only; we make no claim as to the comprehensiveness or accuracy of the information. It is not offered for the purpose of providing individualized legal advice. Use of this guide does not create an attorney-client or any other relationship between the user and Carolina Week, the School of Media and Journalism or the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.