Reporting Fear

Reporting terror also perpetuates it.

It is a journalist’s job to report the news, that’s why they exist. Report what is happening in the world, as it happens. The tag line for so many news services.

But what do you do when that reporting is actually feeding the travesty of the event you are reporting? Confused? Well it is a bit of a dilemma.

Terrorism has been a part of the media, and some lives for over 10 years. By its definition it is the ‘use of violence and intimidation in the pursuit of political aims.’

As time has gone by that definition should also include, ‘the use of media to continue intimidation.’

When an act of terror occurs like that at this week’s Boston Marathon it is all over the media. While that’s because it is an epic event that must be reported, the fear those reports perpetuates is exactly what terrorists want.

There really is no way around it, we are in a 24/7 news cycle where immediacy and a hunger for first hand images dominates ratings and dollars.

It’s that hunger for first hand images that is also our detriment. By devouring over endless photographs and images we are instilling fear and trauma in ourselves. We are seeing tragedy over and over, wondering what it would be like if we were a part of it.

Yet sometimes that hunger can go too far.

Today in the United States Texan town called West a horrific explosion happened in a fertilizer factory. This video taken by a man who obviously wanted to share it with the world really brought home to me the risk of the voyeurism we have grown so accustomed to.

Be warned it is shocking, but most of all I warn you that hearing his son soon after the blast is what’s more distressing.


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