In light of the recent death of Marie Colvin, the veteran Sunday Times war correspondent, who was killed in Syria last week, it is important to analyse the way that the media covers the death of its own. Marie Colvin was an old-school journalist who understood that she was never the story, the people who were involved in the conflicts she reported on were. So why this huge coverage of her death when so many thousands have died in Syria over the last few months?
It is a tragic thing that happened. Marie Colvin was a courageous woman who put herself in danger in order to report to the world what happened in places that, if it was not for people like Colvin, the stories of the people would go untold. Tributes should be paid and memories should be shared.
However, there is something absurd about the amount of coverage that her death has received. Hopefully, it will put pressure on politicians to take measures to help to prevent the human rights abuses occurring in Syria. This is the best result that this amount of coverage can have. The glaring thing about the coverage is that as it happened to one of their own,the media have gone overboard in paying tribute. They have the mouthpiece to be able to do this but they must understand that the reason they have this mouthpiece is because of the profession they work in and not because of who they are.
The media is not a place that people go to in order to read about the people who work in the media. The media is the place people go to in order to read about the whole of the world, journalists included.
It is understandable that the media is deeply affected by what happens to people within their profession, this occurs with every profession. People sympathise and empathise with those who have similar experiences as themselves. By all means, journalists will find the life and death of people like Marie Colvin extremely poignant and may discuss this at length with people who are within their profession.
Is it necessary for this amount of coverage to occur in the public eye though? Is this an example, as the extensive inquiry into the conduct of the media in the UK has been, of journalists believing that everyone is interested in journalists and that is why they buy newspapers? Surely, the real story is the suffering of the people in Syria with the death of Marie Colvin an example of this. Had Marie Colvin been reporting on her own death, would she have focused so much on what happened to her or on the politics and events surrounding her death?
Source: The Guardian