Hidden cameras make a comeback

Did they ever really go away? SPJ’s Jon Marshall contends that hidden cameras fell out of favor in TV newsrooms after the ABC News-Food Lion case in 1992. On his NewsGems blog, Marshall writes, “Fortunately, it looks like they’ve made a strong comeback as part of some great stories.” His post highlights three recent stories that made extensive use of hidden cameras: D.C. Metal Detectors (Fox5, Washington); Juiced in the Valley (ABC15, Phoenix); and Aged Tires (ABC News). See if you think their use of undercover video follows these guidelines:

  • The story involves matters of vital public concern, prevention of profound harm, or system failure
  • Any harm caused by deception is outweighed by the harm prevented by the story
  • The undercover video is essential and brings real value

For more guidance on using hidden cameras, check these legal protocols and ethics standards from RTNDA and Poynter.

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One Response

  1. […] It’s an issue that hasn’t really come up yet, but it probably will. So now is as good a time as any to consider the ethics of using hidden cameras. […]

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