By: Heather Hale
Would a candid photo of me be worth thousands of dollars? No, and if it were then I’d ask for an intense investigation into the person buying it. But some people will throw out their morals and standards of conduct just to get a decent photo of a celebrity. I’m clueless as to whether or not paparazzi are considered a part of journalism or not, but for the integrity of the business I hope that they are not closely related.
Celebrities lose their privacy when they become a household name. Where they go while hanging out, what they wear while hanging out, what they eat while hanging out; all of these things seem to be necessary for Americans to know. There are laws protecting public figures from wrongdoings of journalism, but where are the laws protecting the lives disturbed by photographers just trying to get the perfect picture for their piece? When I talk about protecting lives, I’m talking about both the ability for the celebrities to lead semi-normal lives and the extreme of celebrities not being put in harm’s way physically.
There is the well known story of Princess Diana and how the paparazzi played a role in her death. While they did not drive the car into the wall, they had forced her driver to drive erratically to avoid them, which ended in tragedy. Photographers admitted to being there snapping shots right after the car crash and many have published photos of Princess Diana getting into the car that night. I just have to wonder how those photographers can sleep soundly knowing that they were there causing her driver to be forced to those limits.
Recently there was another incident where Brad Pitt was testing his new motorcycle and was involved in an accident with cars containing photographers. Luckily he was not hurt, but it seems that not much has improved in the “business” since 1997.
Sure, for this assignment we probably had to make alot of calls to get interviews. And sometimes journalists need to conveniently be at certain locations to “fit” an interview in with a very busy person, but I can imagine that Barbara Walters is not sleeping outside of people’s homes just waiting for them to move so she can get some information. Paparazzi have become an excuse for legal stalking, for people to devote their time to capturing how someone else spends their every minute. I hope that for everyone’s sanity this is not where journalism is headed as news outlets try to capture and keep their audiences.