IS IT TIME THE MEDIA WERE KINDER TO THOSE IN THE PUBLIC EYE? OR IS IT DOWN TO ALL OF US ON OUR OWN SOCIAL MEDIA?
I never thought that I would have to write a blog about the suicide of a woman in the prime of her life, in the spotlight of the media, courted by TV shows, but unfortunately this is now the world we live in.
Since the invention of the internet the entire media landscape has been overhauled. Gone are the days of having the ability to get a story pulled from a newspaper so that nobody reads it the next day; people are digesting media in seconds. Is it out of control or is this just evolution?
Caroline Flack’s death has, rightfully so, sparked a renewed national debate over the use of social media and the media industry’s handling of the personal lives of those in the spotlight. I think we all need to accept some accountability for someone feeling so overwhelmed by the media intrusion into her life that she decided she couldn’t take anymore. I’m not just talking about the ‘mainstream media’ in a print and online newspaper sense, but anyone who has the ability to broadcast anything. Anyone who has a Snapchat, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or TikTok account, we are all ‘the media’.
As we’ve entered a new decade, I feel now is the time for better self-regulation but also to address what we class as ‘the media’. Don’t get me wrong, the media industry helps to bring more uplifting stories to the forefront of our minds than it does the negative ones; it helps to reunite families, raise funds and awareness for vital causes, but has it lost its purpose as a force for good, honest news?
When looking back at the past few days it has made me question accountability and who is responsible for what Caroline Flack went through, how she was treated by the media industry and social media. The answer I’ve come to is this – we’re all accountable. Jade Goody had similar treatment, and even stretching back to the Marylin Monroe days, the self-feeding machine has always existed.
Whether you like, share, retweet or click on a link, that’s engagement and fuelling the media machine. If we didn’t care about it, we’d surely ignore it? The truth is we do care, we’re passionate, but perhaps we can better make use of the tools out there to improve our social and mental wellbeing. OK Instagram has been trialling the removal of likes on posts, and brands have the ability to isolate their posts by switching off comments. But anyone can just ‘slide into our DMs’, so Instagram needs to find a better way to regulate this intrusion, don’t they?
As I said on Sky News this week, one of the best courses of action is to have a phone-free day but, in our industry, that’s easier said than done. But we should try, right?
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