Live-tweeting and the law

21 Mar

Break-ups are hard. They’re emotionally messy. They’re hard for outsiders to understand.

Break-ups at Burger King can be amusing, sans the couple fighting, if Andy Boyle is there to live-tweet them.

While this type of journalism is under question (I suppose it would be called live-tweeting stories?), the ethics of broadcasting such a personal moment is being questioned.

When I was little, my mom would tell me not to dare throw a temper tantrum in public. If I didn’t get the toy I wanted, I could wail about it all the way home, but I better be polite to everyone until that car door was closed. However, I suppose the childhood lesson of not causing a scene was not taught to these newlyweds.

If they wanted to keep their discussion of their private matters confidential, they should have had this fight in a private place. They had no reasonable expectation of privacy in a restaurant, especially at a Burger King where there is no intimacy (or hope of rescuing your failing romance, or so I thought before reading this). Heck, everyone in line can hear what you ordered. How could they think someone storming off would go unnoticed?

Though posting an overheard conversation doesn’t seem to merit an actual news story, it seems the definition of what defines a story is has changed.  And while this piece would in no way qualify as hard news, it still amuses readers and causes the audience to reflect on the state of society today if marriages are ending with the last of a Whopper.

Before such technology existed, a beat reporter might have noticed the scene, taken notes and turned this into an editorial on young love being over before you can finish your value meal. Wouldn’t people want to read that article, and would it have evoked as much criticism?

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