The SAGE Key Concepts series provide students with accessible and authoritative knowledge of the essential topics in a variety of disciplines. Cross-referenced throughout, the format encourages critical evaluation through understanding. Written by experienced and respected academics, the books are indispensable study aids and guides to comprehension. Key Concepts in Journalism offers a systematic and accessible introduction to the terms, processes, and effects of journalism;a combination of practical considerations with theoretical issues; and further reading suggestions. The authors bring an enormous range of experience in newspaper and broadcast journalism, at national and regional level, as well as their teaching expertise. This book will be essential reading for students in journalism, and an invaluable reference tool for their professional careers.


Most of the UK controversies about, and official inquiries into, journalistic ethics have been triggered by concern about privacy. Journalistic intrusions into an individual's privacy fall into two basic categories:

  • invasion of physical and personal space to gather information about or images of you – which could include journalists laying siege in a media scrum to your home, persistently knocking on your door or ringing you, following you, filming who you meet, listening to/recording your conversations, pestering your friends for information;
  • the publication of (true) private facts, e.g. about relationships, sexual orientation, sexual habits, finances, health.

Perhaps a third category of intrusion is the publication of speculation about an individual's private thoughts or feelings, which, while neither true nor libellous, could hinder their actual or potential relationships, ...

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