Reality TV not protected under Calif Journalism Shield Law

iMediaEthics publishes international media ethics news stories and investigations into journalism ethics lapses.


Home » Media's Future»

A California judge ruled that reality TV isn't journalism. (Credit: BaitCar, screenshot)

A California judge ruled that a reality TV show isn’t journalism, Editor & Publisher reported.

The reality show, Bait Car by KKI Productions took footage of a felony car theft and wouldn’t turn it over after subpoenas because it said the “show is a news program and its cameramen are journalists.”

The show essentially sets up car theft possibilities, tapes them, and coordinates with police to arrest any theives, as Editor & Publisher describes.  The production company also reportedly gave the police department two cars for the program and $200,000 in overtime pay to police officers.

When the show did turn over the tapes, the defense in the car theft case was able to get the case dismissed because the show had footage that identified a key witness.

Notably, Editor & Publisher highlighted the “cozy relationship” between the San Francisco police and the TV show and the “debate on the difference between covering the news and orchestrating it.”

Read more on Editor & Publisher’s site here.

Submit a tip / Report a problem

Reality TV not protected under Calif Journalism Shield Law

Share this article:

Comments Terms and Conditions

  • We reserve the right to edit/delete comments which harass, libel, use coarse language and profanity.
  • We moderate comments especially when there is conflict or negativity among commenters.
  • Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *