Media profits from massacres


Its a quiet day in the Sri Lankan blogosphere between the next terror attack and the cricket. Time for something controversial if not inflammatory.

Shootings at educational institutions are made for news events. With a solid who, what, where and when. which can be trailed along as bait to the audience as the events unfold. There’s the drama of other people’s death and suffering that pulls a wide demographic of eye balls to the nearest TV. It lets the channels take care of market segmentation. Its the feeding of the lions at the arena.

CNN and the like are not charities. They’ve got the cost of delivering the public good of informing the public and share holders to answer to. So the corporate purpose of news is generating revenue. A bulk (or at least a part) of that is from advertising. The more people are likely to watch your channel, the more you can charge to run an ad. A brutal statement unsupported by research but I’ve said it now and its nothing new.

Unsteady blurry shots of dull buildings become reverting. A true high for the news junkies. The get out of trouble free card for the politician facing the cameras after being caught with his pants down. The death toll is small enough for the victim profiles to be strung along for days. Cross dissolves of smiling young faces full of promise. Then there’s the big coverage of the memorial service and a chance for a policy speech by the leading pol of the moment.

Of course there’s definitely a current affairs special or two in there somewhere. The follow up documentary. Perhaps even the banned video game. On the long term, a few book deals and inevitably, a Hollywood product. Then there are the unresolved issues of gun control, law & order, ethnic and immigration tensions (when the killer is not a white male), and morality for the talk shows.

And of course a tsunami of details and topics for blog posts. Even a bitter cynical unresearched and unproofed one like this.

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