Voice Platform and Support Network for Families of Missing and Victims of Crime
By now everyone has heard that Steve Jobs, co-founder and CEO of Apple, Inc. has died from pancreatic cancer at the age of 56. And how could they not; news shows have dedicated most of their programming to him and transition to and from commercials with various images of the leader, while newspapers and magazines had stopped their presses to make sure they ran tribute frontpages and special coverage of the visionary.
But, when does it become too much? Keeping in mind that American news organizations are businesses, should we question whether newspapers are really paying tribute to a genius or trying to cash in on and beat competitors to increased readership.
Before Michael Jackson died, he was a laughingstock of the country and many viewed the singer as morally questionable. Much of this was perpetuated by the media. After Jackson died, however, he suddenly became a loved “legend” in and out of the media. Likewise, before Amy Winehouse died, she was more known for her drug addiction than for her music. After her death, she became a great artist again.
It appears that in our culture, showing respect and honor to loved-ones becomes particularly important and observable after the loved-one has died. When a celebrity passes, or a tragic accident takes many lives, members of society join together to pay tribute to those lost. This becomes easy in today’s digitally connected societies.
Though, sometimes the media exploits this.
After a high-profiled and untimely death, the topic becomes trending and hot. News media know that the mourning world will want to honor the lost while those who were not fans before will be curious to know more about the dead. The media has been quick to take advantage of this.
The problem with this kind of reporting is that it’s borderline sensational. This sort of pack-journalism focuses too much on the hype while trying to exploit it. Many papers are less concerned about paying tribute to the dead and more concerned about selling their papers, competing with other media outlets and not wanting to be left out of the widespread coverage. Even if their goal is to earnestly pay tribute and honor the dead, this crosses the line of objectivity and the paper becomes vocal advocates with a huge bias.
Certainly, there is a place in news coverage for honoring the dead, particularly the death of someone famous and highly influential, but devoting pages and pages and programming time and programming time to repeating the same information already known, reported and readily available, smacks of commercialism.
found on THE MEDIA CRITIC - A critical look at local and national journalism trends. Analyzing the ethics, practices and complexities of American media.
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