Covering Loss

Showing close-ups of crying, heartbroken family members, taking interviews from grieving relatives and repeatedly showing the dead individuals photos or videos.

This seems to be the latest fixation with journalists covering stories with death at its crux.

It amazes me that people who are supposedly guardians of public opinion are so dense that they cannot understand the importance of covering the loss of a life with at least some sensitivity.

After the 26/11 attacks in Mumbai, the media was in a frenzy. In an effort to break news journalists were trampling over themselves in order to get the breaking news of their lives.

Similarly in the UK, two years back, there was extensive coverage of the deaths of young people in the Bridgend area. One of the parents admitted that the constant coverage by the media caused pain and humiliation for them.

What is this big obsession with death?

Why does the media insist on projecting a death with so much prominence? Aren’t we all, as the audience reduced to a pathetic voyeuristic lot relishing in the greif of others?

I do agree that there is a huge impact created by negative news, and death in any form definitely tops the list.

But as journalists we are also custodians of social integrity. And it becomes our responsibility to make sure that we handle these issues with utmost sensitivity.

Is the media romanticising death

When Michael Jackson passed away last year, the media covered the story to death! There were so many discussions about it and at the end of the month, Jackson had achieved demi-god status.

There are plenty of other cases where there seems to have been an undue coverage of death.

Do the media barons not realise that affected families might be consumers of this very same news? Or are they so blinded by the soaring TRP’s and circulation figures?

It is impossible not to cover death. It is an integral part of the society and it is definitely news worthy.

But that is no excuse for the completely irreverent coverage of someone’s loss. To all the journalists reading this, I beg you to think of how you would feel if , god forbid, you were on the other side of the boat.

It is imperative that we respect others sentiments and distress. So in our quest for that dream story, we should not feed on the nightmares of innocent grievers.


3 thoughts on “Covering Loss

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