Even before tragedies like Princess Diana’s fatal accident attempting to flee the paparazzi, privacy and notoriety have long been at odds. The Guardian brought this interesting information to our attention in their article, “Five categories of fame.”

Every person reasonably expects that privacy will be respected, but it is not absolute, and in journalism there are different expectations. The author of this article put together a taxonomy of fame. Though not a true taxonomy, this classification highlights the type of fame, considered in combination with whatever public interest factors may be relevant in the particular circumstances. They list five broad categories of fame.

  • Fame by election or appointment includes politicians, judges and others in public office. They often trade some privacy for a share of power that derives from the public.
  • Fame by achievement comes to film, TV and music stars, sporting champions and others who lead large organizations or make transforming contributions in their fields.
  • Fame by association are those related to people who are famous.
  • Fame by chance happens to previously anonymous people randomly caught in tragedy, disaster or good fortune.
  • Royal fame is self-explanatory but also unique. Those who are born into or marry into royalty exist to be in the media.

Of course when it comes to the law and legal system, their definitions of privacy and the invasion of, may or may not be influenced by these different categories.

Melody K. Smith

Sponsored by Access Innovations, the world leader in taxonomies, metadata, and semantic enrichment to make your content findable.