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Mother Sues After Bebo Story Hits Press 305

Posted by kdawson
from the what-was-once-private dept.
slick_shoes notes a story out of England: a woman named Amanda Hudson is suing six national newspapers for defamation and breach of privacy after they ran stories based on her 15-year-old daughter's exaggerated claims about her party, published on her Bebo site. The party was held at the family's £4m villa in Spain, and the daughter's account claimed that jewelery had been stolen and furniture and a television set thrown into the swimming pool; in addition there were claims of sex and drug use. The mother says that this was all falsehood and exaggeration. A number of newspapers picked up claims and photos from Bebo and ran them nationally. From the article: "The case is expected to have far-reaching consequences for third parties who use or publish information from social networking sites. Lawyers say it could place a duty on all second-hand users to establish the truth of everything they want to republish from such sites."
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Mother Sues After Bebo Story Hits Press

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  • Editors? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TheSkyIsPurple (901118) on Friday July 11, 2008 @11:52AM (#24153353)

    > Lawyers say it could place a duty on all second-hand users to establish the truth of everything they want to republish from such sites

    Isn't that what newspaper reporters and editors are for?

    • Re:Editors? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by spun (1352) <loverevolutionary@nOSpam.yahoo.com> on Friday July 11, 2008 @11:55AM (#24153399) Journal

      Fact checking is so last century. In the NEW and CONNECTED world of WEB 2.0, flash-mobs in the blogosphere fact check everything for you!

      • by Woundweavr (37873) on Friday July 11, 2008 @12:29PM (#24154013)

        By US standards this case would likely be tossed out.

        The first story I found from the Daily Mail [dailymail.co.uk] included getting a response from the mother, quotes from other party goers, etc

        In the words of Jodie on her Bebo page after the event: 'There's so much damage and clothes stolen. A lot of broken doors. people cauight (sic) having sex.'

        But the teenager seemed unrepentant about the chaos she caused, adding: 'I got punched by my mum for it and grounded until the summer. wat a a BITCH!'

        Mrs Hudson, who is separated from Jodie's father, yesterday denied she had hit her daughter. ...
        One partygoer, who said he had heard about the event from friends, said: 'Somebody said we were allowed to wreck the house because the birthday girl's parents were getting divorced.

        'There were kids behaving like gangsters from a rap video, throwing stuff around and smashing things. There were chairs, tables, even a TV in the pool.' ...

        Mrs Hudson had been hoping to move and had put her home in the exclusive El Paraiso development on the market.

        Friends said she told them: 'The place looked like a war zone.
        'All the banisters have been broken. The walls are ruined, the carpets are destroyed, furniture is broken . . . It is going to take months to sort out.'

        One friend said: 'Amanda is still furious with her daughter and hasn't spoken to her for days.'

        Last night Mrs Hudson played down the furore. 'Jodie had up to 400 people, but she knows a lot of people,' she said.

        'With a party that size you are always going to end up with some damage.'

        Asked about Jodie's comments on Bebo, she said: 'I don't know what she has written on her site, and I'm not saying anything else.'

        Just because the mother denies (possibly criminal, depending on how hitting her daughter occurred and what the laws are regarding serving minors alcohol over there) the report doesn't mean it was defamation or they didn't do their jobs. Maybe the quotes were made up, and maybe the pictures from the girl's blog didn't show what they seemed to (teenagers paired up in bed, passed out drunk girls, young men/teenagers carrying beer around) but we shouldn't assume that.

        According to wiki in the UK

        A private individual must only prove negligence (not using due care) to collect compensatory damages. In order to collect punitive damages, all individuals must prove actual malice.

        The US uses a somewhat similar standard. If you've got claims by the daughter, quotes from friends of the mother, and from party goers (and these are not fabricated) then to me "due care" has probably been taken.

        • by Zemran (3101) on Friday July 11, 2008 @02:13PM (#24155491) Homepage Journal

          IANAL and all the other caveats about not knowing everything...

          I think that solicitors that encourage action when that is not good professional advice, should be ordered by the courts to pay all costs and there should be no cost to the person taking action. The mother naturally wants to take action, I accept that she is asking to take action... but the solicitor is the professional and should have an obligation to make it really clear that there is no case when there is no case. If the courts made a few solicitors pay when it was beyond doubt that they had encouraged action, then it would make the rest think twice before recommending action. Such a ruling would also cut down on frivolous claims by greedy companies...

    • by jeiler (1106393)
      Fact-checking is so pre-Web-2.0.
    • by Rinisari (521266)

      Exactly. I bet she'll win this one.

    • Re:Editors? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by topham (32406) on Friday July 11, 2008 @11:57AM (#24153443) Homepage

      Thankfully you said 'Newspaper' editors, if we held the editors around here to that standard there would be no stories!

      Seriously, this is stupid; her daughter published the 'facts' as it were. She may have a claim, but her daughter should be enjoined from having a claim.
      If I tell you I'm a drunk, and you publish it I can't later say that it wasn't true and sue you for publishing it.

      • Re:Editors? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by DaedalusHKX (660194) on Friday July 11, 2008 @12:15PM (#24153771) Journal

        Actually the ONLY way they can get away with it and NOT lose the lawsuit is to have said throughout the story "the young, 15 year old girl's blog CLAIMS that... etc etc."

        If they said "and in related news, etc mansion was host to a party and etc got high, knocked up and smashed a TV" that's libel/defamation. Claims have to be attributed as such. Only verified information can be claimed to be true. I wager most newssources wouldn't verify shit they run anymore than most consumers of said news sources would actually VERIFY the news sources reports.

        Prime example. Remember Die Hard 4? Remember the scene where everyone watches the bad guys take out the capitol? (or was it the white house?) Remember how the people near there go outside and see it is okay and still standing? What about all the other poor bastards who have no way of verifying or cannot be bothered or have had their government run communications get taken out? (Hence why i recommend everyone have a CB radio or ham rig in their home, even without repeaters, the chain effect works enough to cover a whole region of concerned individuals.)

        Verification, personal inquiry are both important factors of stories, and journalists have discovered that yellow journalism works. Why report a "claim" as a "claim"? Because it keeps the libel cases away from your door.

        • Re:Editors? (Score:4, Informative)

          by deweyhewson (1323623) on Friday July 11, 2008 @12:55PM (#24154403)
          "If they said...that's libel/defamation."

          You are 100% correct. I worked for a newspaper once and my editor would constantly hammer into us that we had to "quote, quote, quote!" If somebody said something, we were to write it as "somebody said something".

          Anything not attributed as a quote is viewed as fact in the news, so quoting is of utmost importance when reporting anything that has not been proven to have occurred; if not for accuracy's sake, at least for liability protection. People will sue, and win, over the smallest details that were reported as fact when they were not verified as such.

          As a side point, any journalist who uses an online post as a source without further research is nothing short of a shoddy reporter.
    • Re:Editors? (Score:5, Funny)

      by Joe the Lesser (533425) on Friday July 11, 2008 @11:58AM (#24153465) Homepage Journal

      That reminds me of how Fox News is constantly discussing crazy online rumors as if they were credible facts.

      'Reports say that Obama has a taste for kittens! What a devastating blow to his campaign! Surely he will lose ground in the animal rights voting bloc. We'll cover this next on our 3 hour special "Barack-uriosity Killed the Cat."'

      Hannity comes in: "So is the cat out of the bag on the Obama campaign? MySpace reports....." and so on and so forth

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Candid88 (1292486)

      "Isn't that what newspaper reporters and editors are for?"

      Yes, but what if an Editor has a really good story about a "party gone wild" which he knows will sell lots of papers but then at the last minute discovers his sources are false. Do you really expect him to cause his newspaper to loose sales?

      Remember his duty is to the newspaper company's shareholders after all, not the customers.

      • cant loose sales you never had, have you been listning to much to some RIAA/MPAA smuck?

      • by KlomDark (6370)

        Didn't stop our good buddy W when it came to the Nigerian Yellowcake Uranium not actually being sold to Iraq. Complete bullshit is the news of the day.

      • Re:Editors? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by AKAImBatman (238306) <akaimbatman@gmai[ ]om ['l.c' in gap]> on Friday July 11, 2008 @12:25PM (#24153941) Homepage Journal

        Pff. You guys need to learn how the business works.

        Day 1: "Daughter claims rich family had a drunken orgy party!"

        Day 2: "Mother claims daughter told an 'embellished' story about the party"

        There you go. A story and a retraction. Both of which are perfectly legal and true. The mother can sue all she wants, but what she should be doing is stringing up her daughter by her pinky toe. Instead, we end up with...

        Day 3: "Family sues newspapers for reporting embellished story"

        Even more sales! (Cha-ching!)

    • Re:Editors? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by infonography (566403) on Friday July 11, 2008 @12:08PM (#24153657) Homepage

      Sadly for the plaintiff the account came from a member of the family in a published journal (her daughter's website). How many times have there been stories of say Slashdot which were questionable. Then the comments started to fly.

      Still it all boils down to the daughter's web posting. It's close enough a legitimate source for a judge to toss it. If a journalist made it up out of whole clothe that's one thing this is from a direct source.

      Who may be a liar.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by 1u3hr (530656)
        Sadly for the plaintiff the account came from a member of the family in a published journal (her daughter's website).

        Not quite so simple. First the daughter is only 16. Second I don't know how this particular site works, but it may be only accessible to members. No matter how easy is is to join, that would be different from "publishing" to all and sundry. It's at least nominally a private communication.

        Regardless of legality, it was a sleazy thing to do and I have no sympathy for the newspapers. They

    • by dedazo (737510)

      The trick is to append a question mark to your headlines.

      That way no one can accuse you of anything even when you repeat (and embellish) the most outrageous bullshit.

      See also: Faux News, Slashdot, Digg.

    • Re:Editors? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Dekortage (697532) on Friday July 11, 2008 @12:23PM (#24153891) Homepage

      To quote John Swinton [constitution.org]:

      "There is no such thing, at this date of the world's history, in America, as an independent press. You know it and I know it. There is not one of you who dares to write your honest opinions, and if you did, you know beforehand that it would never appear in print. I am paid weekly for keeping my honest opinion out of the paper I am connected with. Others of you are paid similar salaries for similar things, and any of you who would be so foolish as to write honest opinions would be out on the streets looking for another job. If I allowed my honest opinions to appear in one issue of my paper, before twenty-four hours my occupation would be gone. The business of the journalists is to destroy the truth, to lie outright, to pervert, to vilify, to fawn at the feet of mammon, and to sell his country and his race for his daily bread. You know it and I know it, and what folly is this toasting an independent press? We are the tools and vassals of rich men behind the scenes. We are the jumping jacks, they pull the strings and we dance. Our talents, our possibilities and our lives are all the property of other men. We are intellectual prostitutes."

  • by Rycross (836649) on Friday July 11, 2008 @11:54AM (#24153387)

    The fact that some party thrown by a rich 15 year old girl is national news is kind-of depressing. Am I missing something?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Jasonjk74 (1104789)
      I was wondering the same thing. How is this "news for nerds?" Because it involves that amazing, new-fangled social networking?
      • by pha7boy (1242512) on Friday July 11, 2008 @12:02PM (#24153557)

        The fact that newspapers published the account is not "news for nerds." The story is just background for what actually is important news - namely that there could be precedent in the UK for holding news organizations accountable for publishing second hand information without fact checking.

        I wonder if the "compromise" will be that from now on newspapers will add "as reported on [insert blog name here]" on every such story meaning that they would pass responsibility for accuracy to the original source.

        • by VdG (633317)

          Papers have been doing this sort of thing for years, often passing stuff off as their own stories or original comment. They might be able to protect themselves by attributing the tale but I think that there must be a limit to that. If a politician puts some wacky stuff in their blog it might be news, but if my young nephew does the same thing it certainly isn't.

          But also, if you suddenly discover that half the stories in your local paper have just been pulled off the Internet, might you not think that you'

      • by Ukab the Great (87152) on Friday July 11, 2008 @12:23PM (#24153901)

        News for nerds scandal would be a linux distribution CEO's son inviting Bill Gates to his house for dinner while his parents were on vacation believing he was having wild parties with drugs and sex.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by snowraver1 (1052510)
      OMG!!! WTF do u mean BIG parties r al ways noows i want 2 go!!!11!!!!1! OMG WTF LOL!1!!
    • by CastrTroy (595695)
      To only Amanda Hudson [imdb.com] I can find is a camera operator. She's done some pretty big movies, but I don't see why anything in her life would be in the news. Maybe she's related to Kate Hudson. Anyway, I find the amount of attention rich people get in the news to be way over the top.
    • by Deagol (323173)
      What's even more sad is there is (was?) a US TV show along the same lines. "My Sweet 16" or something. I haven't watched TV in years, so I don't know the specifics. However, I've heard word of the show online. Youth, beauty, and wealth -- the pillars of the entertainment industry.
    • by Hatta (162192)

      You're only depressed because you weren't invited.

  • Excuse me (Score:5, Funny)

    by DaveV1.0 (203135) on Friday July 11, 2008 @11:56AM (#24153417) Journal

    Your privacy is invading our public.

  • I hope so (Score:4, Informative)

    by Herkum01 (592704) on Friday July 11, 2008 @11:57AM (#24153449)

    I hope that they succeed. It would is nice to know that when they actually claim it is news, it is not a piece of fiction more in line with Harlequin romance novels.

  • by gparent (1242548) on Friday July 11, 2008 @11:58AM (#24153457)
    "The party was held at the family's £4m villa in Spain, and the daughter's account claimed that jewelery had been stolen and furniture and a television set thrown into the swimming pool; in addition there were claims of sex and drug use. The mother says that this was all falsehood and exaggeration" Yeah. The villa is only worth £3.5m. And it was actually a DVD player that was thrown into the swimming pool. Oh and there was no drug use, only sex.
  • Buy a dictionary.. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by R2.0 (532027)

    Hey, bitch - buy your daughter a damned dictionary and have her look up the meaning of the word "publish".

    Then you look up the word "parent" and do your fucking job (hint - it doesn't involve suing a third party when your spawn does something stupid).

  • by Altus (1034) on Friday July 11, 2008 @11:58AM (#24153463) Homepage

    If they had written a story about the blog entry?

    It seems to me that you couldnt possibly get in trouble for saying "According to her blog on myspace.com little suzy rich girls party got out of hand and someone threw a TV out the window"

    I mean, thats certainly a true statement. If that would be acceptable to print without verifying the truth of the actual event then this isnt going to have much of an impact one way or another.

    Personally I dont like the idea of a news paper regurgitating a blog as truth. Its one thing to refer to the blog, they way you might refer to another publication (ie "ABC news called florida for bush at 10:30").

    • by ceoyoyo (59147) on Friday July 11, 2008 @12:02PM (#24153551)

      A newspaper or TV station should ALWAYS identify it's source. This attitude that seeing it online is somehow equivalent to being an eyewitness is silly and dangerous. I hope they lose this stupid case just so we can get some journalistic integrity back for when it matters.

    • by vux984 (928602)

      If they had written a story about the blog entry?

      So the front page of every newspaper next week should be: "Two headed alien michael jackson baby!"... ... according to an eye witness who posted on his blog, Michael Jackson gave birth to a 2 headed alien child. Pictures were also on the blog, and blogger insists they aren't photoshopped too!!...

      It may be the truth that some blogger posted this, but that hardly makes it 'news' or makes the story satisfy any sort of journalistic integrity.

      • by Altus (1034)

        No, not every paper, but there certainly are papers like that. If the New York times started reporting on Michael Jacksons 2 headed alien child I suspect their readership would fall and they would end up in supermarket checkout isles.

        I'm not saying that's the best thing but I'm not sure that those "aliens ate my baby" rags are destroying the media.

  • by speedtux (1307149) on Friday July 11, 2008 @11:59AM (#24153467)

    The only relevant fact that newspapers needed to check was that it was actually the 15-year old daughter that put it up for the world to see. Other than that, as the legal guardian, if the mother didn't want her daughter to post this information, she should have been a better parent.

    There might actually be a case others have against the mother for defamation of character, since she is responsible for the actions of her daughter, and her daughter might have defamed them.

    I wish parents would stop blaming other people for their own failings. Until their children come off age, what the kids do and what happens to the kids is the parents' sole responsibility.

    • by DM9290 (797337)

      If I publish libel, and you republish MY libel without ensuring its veracity, then you are ALSO liable for libel. Liability does not solely rest with the very first publisher. Each and every copy of defamatory material put into the public causes additional damage.

      When you publish something that might tend to damage someones reputation you have an obligation to ensure what you are saying is TRUE and that you are not acting out of malice. No one forced the newspapers to republish a story they didn't even in

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by speedtux (1307149)

        If I publish libel, and you republish MY libel without ensuring its veracity, then you are ALSO liable for libel.

        That's true provided I have reason to doubt the information. If I can reasonably assume that the information is true, I'm not libeling you. And if you report the information yourself, I'm not libeling you if I repeat it. So, if you yourself say that you hold orgies at your home, it's not libel if I report that, even if it's not true.

        The child was not the one who published the newpapers.

        The chi

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by D Ninja (825055)

      And, what, pray tell does "come of age" mean, exactly? 18? Bulls*it. A 15-year old teenager knows exactly what he or she is doing when they post the crap that that woman's daughter posted.

      Additionally, even if she was an excellent parent, her daughter could have easily posted that at a friend's house, at school or from her cell phone. You can be a good parent, but you can't monitor your kids 24/7.

      The daughter should be held responsible in this case. "Kids" need to learn to take responsibility for their

  • by FlyingSquidStudios (1031284) on Friday July 11, 2008 @12:00PM (#24153509) Homepage
    Bebo Babe's Barcelona Bash: Burglary, Buggery, Breaking
  • by Madman (84403) on Friday July 11, 2008 @12:01PM (#24153519) Homepage

    Newspapers have always had the responsibility to verify their stories, why should that change simply because the information's off the web?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Because the person who published and the person complaining are the same person?
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by dschuetz (10924)

        Because the person who published and the person complaining are the same person?

        The person who *originally* published is the daughter of the person complaining.

        The people who *currently* are publishing, that is, the tabloids, are being sued (rightfully, in my mind) for essentially spreading unsubstantiated rumor.

        Look at it this way: If you're a reporter, and you tell your editor that "I've heard from a friend of a friend that this Hudson kid had a crazy party, can I do a story on it?" he'd say no. How should this be any different?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 11, 2008 @12:02PM (#24153555)

    This includes geek bloggers, soccer moms and professional reporters. You post something with the impression that it is true and don't verify...then you should be help accountable. For example. A post recently posted ON slashdot that the RIAA MADE dell remove stereo output from some of its computers. Now it seems that it may not be so true, or again that is the rumor. If it is in fact found out to be of "no merit" that blogger/slashdot post SHOULD be found responsible for losses against dell & the riaa if they were able to make a case for that. Something to think about, just because you can doesn't mean you aren't responsible.

  • by petes_PoV (912422) on Friday July 11, 2008 @12:05PM (#24153609)
    I can't say I have sympathy with any of the parties in this case. If I was the judge, ruling on this libel case I'd want to award damages AGAINST both sides.

    For the lady and her daughter - abject stupidity. Once you put something on the internet, it's there for life - if you don't realise this, you are not qualified to use the internet. Just as if yo don't realise cars can kill, if improperly driven, you have no business being behind the wheel.

    For the newspapers - whatever happened to validating your sources? Is this something that only happens in the movies, or has the average rag descended to the point where all it does is reprint salacious and unverified fiction from all and any sources. They really do deserve to be sued out of existence in that case.

  • Ummm (Score:4, Insightful)

    by EmagGeek (574360) <gterich@aoMONETl.com minus painter> on Friday July 11, 2008 @12:11PM (#24153691) Journal

    "The case is expected to have far-reaching consequences for third parties who use or publish information from social networking sites. Lawyers say it could place a duty on all second-hand users to establish the truth of everything they want to republish from such sites."

    Aren't journalists supposed to do this ANYWAY?

  • by exp(pi*sqrt(163)) (613870) on Friday July 11, 2008 @12:12PM (#24153727) Journal
    ...in reporting? Maybe they do things differently in the UK, but certainly in the US, as Fox News demonstrated [wikipedia.org], there's no such legal requirement.
  • by nobodyman (90587) on Friday July 11, 2008 @12:13PM (#24153749) Homepage

    From the article:

    She did not consent to the publication in the media of any photograph of her or her party, or of any material that she wrote on her Bebo site

    Too bad. When you publish stuff on the internet for all of the world to see it really undermines your privacy claims. Now, if this girl only allowed her stories to be seen by those she had designated as friends, then she might have a leg to stand on with respect to privacy.

    Also, the defamation claim is curious. I haven't ever seen a case where the the originator of the false statements is the same person suing the newspapers for making false statements.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Alistar (900738)

      Whoa there.

      If I post a picture on the internet, sure anyone can see it, but I still retain right of publication (or the perhaps the site that it is posted on depending on the legal mumbo jumbo).

      If I put up a poster on a University Bulletin Board with a picture of my house saying big party, that does not give you the right to scan it in and use the picture in a news story about about the big party. You can take your own, but that is still my picture.

      Same if I post a short story or poem on the internet, sure

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by nobodyman (90587)

        If I post a picture on the internet, sure anyone can see it, but I still retain right of publication (or the perhaps the site that it is posted on depending on the legal mumbo jumbo).

        But that's not what we're talking about here. The newspapers aren't being accused of plagiarism, they are being accused of defamation and invasion of privacy.

        If I put up a poster on a University Bulletin Board with a picture of my house saying big party, that does not give you the right to scan it in and use the picture in a n

  • by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Friday July 11, 2008 @12:18PM (#24153811) Homepage Journal
    I would be very, very surprised to learn that they weren't having sex and using drugs. 15? Rich? Sheeeit.
  • You publish something on the internet...but you get mad when it's exposed to others?

    Uh huh...

  • You mean when I read that QT_pie3478 posted that "my partiez wuz schweet y'allzzz!!!1" that in fact, her partiez may not have been schweet after all? And that in fact, that source might not be reliable? The horror! If only there were some way to tell that the source might not be reliable...

  • "Never let the truth get in the way of a good story"

    They published remarks from a 15-year-old on a social networking site. Should the newspapers be surprised they're getting sued. I don't think so.

  • Wouldnt this be perfect way to make some cash?

    Stay with me here:
    1) Throw lavish party and get shocked by bill.
    2) Post story exaggerating the facts.
    3) Hope newspapers to pick up the story and run with it. (Sweet they did!)
    $) Sue! Its not a real story!
    5) Profit!!!!!

    Call me crazy but this is really sad. I hope they dont get away with it. Whichever side is wrong.
  • I'm so mixed on this. I think that the papers/media were wrong to invade this individual's privacy over nothing other than rumor/fantasy. So what if the girl put it up on her social networking site? She could also put up how she is dating an alien from a UFO and has been given replicator tech and used it to build her own vacation home. Would you believe it without basic fact checking?

    If my kids draw fantasy crap that they want for their next birthday and post it to myspace would the media instantly believe

  • by Venik (915777) on Friday July 11, 2008 @01:19PM (#24154719)
    I think reliability of information posted by a teenage girl on Bebo ranks up there with BBC World News. How else would they fill ten minutes of their daily morning broadcast with news from Zimbabwe, while their nearest reporter is sitting in Johannesburg some 1200 miles away?
  • Money Making Scam (Score:3, Insightful)

    by TobascoKid (82629) on Friday July 11, 2008 @01:19PM (#24154735) Homepage

    This could be a money making scam -

    1) Post fake lurid posts on social networking site

    2) wait for press to pick up on lurid posts

    3) claim the posts are fake and sue for defamation.

    4) Profit

    No ??? needed.

  • by jc364 (1292206) on Friday July 11, 2008 @01:22PM (#24154757)
    before people learn not to post stories that they don't want the whole world reading? I hear stories like this time after time, and its always, "They should respect my privacy." Well, guess what... if you post information publicly over a global connection that EVERYONE has access to, then you have no privacy. That said, I do think the media are idiots for taking "credible" information from the social networking page of a 15 year old girl. I think that they should absolutely be held responsible, especially for a story that is so damaging to a person's character. There's a reporter somewhere that should be fired for this.
  • by diskofish (1037768) on Friday July 11, 2008 @02:42PM (#24155923)
    Mrs Hudson said her daughter has also suffered greatly because of the breach of her privacy. "Jodie is 15 years old," she said. "She did not consent to the publication in the media of any photograph of her or her party, or of any material that she wrote on her Bebo site."

    Looks like she learned about it the hard way. What you post on-line is public info.
  • by vorlich (972710) on Friday July 11, 2008 @02:58PM (#24156177) Homepage Journal
    Journalism's origins stem from the reporting of shiploads of trade goods and their arrival in port - particularly Venice and London. Advance knowledge of a ship and it's contents allowed the original speculators the opportunity to make a healthy profit. These sheets were circulated, certainly around London and Venice and it wasn't long before people used them to advertise.

    Friends of the printers (to cut a long story short) often sent lengthy letters to each other, reporting on topical events (it was before the internet) especially wars. These letters were often printed verbatim hence the origin of the word 'correspondent'.
    These reports were incredibly popular and garnered readership. Edward Mallet took the highly original step of editing them to fit the space between the ads, and the Daily Courant was born in the 1700's. Often these letters were reports of reports of reports - a bit like the internet!

    Gradually this developed into an art form and it wasn't long before reporters were despatched to write the letters themselves. War, conflict, crime and punishment and scandal soon became the daily diet of millions of readers. Then Hollywood was invented and so was the world of entertainment. Gradually readers started to prefer entertainment to 'news' - and who wouldn't? I present exhibit one 'The Sun' http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Sun/ [wikipedia.org] , which holds the world record for the highest readership of a single edition in the English language. This is closely followed by that masterpiece of twee entertainment published by DC Thomson 'The Sunday.Post' http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Sunday_Post/ [wikipedia.org] including the immortal humour of 'Oor Wullie' http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oor_Wullie/ [wikipedia.org] Oor_Wullie and 'The Broons' http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Broons/ [wikipedia.org]

    So it shouldn't really surprise anyone that people like to be entertained and since the entertainment industry is the economic dynamo of the developed nations, we shouldn't really be surprised by the sudden revelation that newspapers are in the 'infotainment' business.

    None of this is at all new, Evelyn Waugh, in 1938, lampooned the whole industry to hilarious effect in 'Scoop' http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scoop_(novel)/ [wikipedia.org]. The simple tests for 'news' is; "What is the origin of this report?" and: "Who benefits from it?" and the three eternal questions any journalist would ask any famous figure if they caught them in the elevator are: "How bad is it? Will it get any worse? And what are you going to do about". A healthy attitude of scepticism is an essential attri..


    We interrupt this broadcast to bring you ** breaking news** direct from Lynwood, California where Paris Hilton has just been released from prison having served four days of a 40 day sentence... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paris_Hilton/ [wikipedia.org]

    Bias Disclaimer: I used to be a member of the NUJ and I used to teach this subject.
  • by Matt Perry (793115) <perry.matt54NO@SPAMyahoo.com> on Friday July 11, 2008 @03:07PM (#24156371)

    This is what you get when you have multiple 24-hour news channels and lots of news web sites itching to have something new. There's only so much real news, and not enough of it to even fill one TV channel with content. So they have to dig for crap. This is what you get.

  • by AftanGustur (7715) on Friday July 11, 2008 @03:26PM (#24156669) Homepage

    If the newspapers liftet both story and pictures from the blog, then that's a clear case of "for profit" copyright infringment.

    Just because you find a story and pictures on a blog doesn't mean that they are public domain !

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