08 July, 2009

Reporting death as a journalist…Okaaayyyy…sounds daunting

I’m a HUGE Michael Jackson fan. It might sound soppy to some people, but that’s what I am and I don’t fell the need to justify myself about that. Now that we got this point cleared, let’s move on to today’s topic, which the recent event of MJ’s death illustrates appropriately.

What are the limits when it comes to reporting on the subject? What is there to say about the Jackson family’s behaviour? It’s the first time I ever heard about having to get tickets to attend a funeral? And the way they just carry the body from one place to another, with paparazzi on their tail! It’s quite easy to frown upon that and become passionate, but then they also have their reasons, don’t they?

Now how are we, as journalists, supposed to behave? More and more people are starting to get fed up about all this MJ affair. They might really be glad now the memorial service is over and done with. Be should the media tell the news of his death and stop there? Should they not have covered it so much? I don’t think so; because it is still a matter of public interest.

Many wanted to be informed about it because they cared about what happened. It came as so much of the shock to me. I remember it was around 1am and I was nearly asleep when I heard of it but I still HAD to check. That’s basically what the media are for- to provide us with the information we need. End of story. Of course it might be too much, but that’s because a lot of people wanted to hear about it. If there were no demand, there would have been no news.

I have a paper the universal code of ethics right in front of my eyes right now and this is what it says: “Don’t intrude into private grief and distress, unless such intrusion is overridden by a legitimate public interest”.

MJ’s death is a matter of legitimate interest to millions of people. I think the media did the right thing, helping to make it real for the public. I believe grief is a part of the healing process.
The fans needed to hear it from reliable sources.
Pic: silive.com

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