The Boston Marathon 2013
The Boston Marathon is an annual event and is celebrated by thousands of people from the city and across the nation. This is hosted by cities within the greater Boston area and is always held during Patriot’s Day on the third week of April. This started in the year 1897 which was inspired by the first modern-day marathon in the summer Olympics.
During this particular race on April 15, 2013, three people were killed and an estimated two hundred and sixty four victims were injured during two pressure cooker bomb blasts exploded. These were done thirteen seconds and one hundred and ninety meters apart, close to the marathon finish line.
This particular sports event and tragedy has helped form a community in the Greater Boston area. The journalism during and after the event helped people know more about the citizens that were affected by the bombings (Deuze, 2005). You can see how the functions of journalism has helped people know more about the event and help those who were involved. People who did their part in helping the victims were recognized and large groups who have put in their share as a sign of condolence were also recognized. Not only was this a sad time for Eastern Massachusetts, but this event affected everyone around the world. Stories about the bombing, as well as those who were victimized by the event were covered so that people can remember what happened. This particular event formed a tight community among those who mourned for their loss as well as those who were there or had family members present during the event. For countries around the world, they were educated on the culture of the United States, and they saw how the nation took a pause just to remember those who were victimized during the Boston Marathon Bombing just this year.
Telling Audiences What Issues Matter / Agenda Setting
The function and role of journalism can be seen during this event because people were informed on what happened. The issues that mattered were focused on. Instead of putting light on who won or which groups were present during the day, the press focused on the tragedy in Boston. Journalism helped people know more about what happened and how they can help. This was also done through technology and the social media.
Technology is moving faster than ever; new media has opened up new opportunities for individuals and businesses alike. However, with these new opportunities come challenges and issues. With the decline of newspaper readership also goes advertising revenues. There is a battle to find a business model which is sustainable, all because of the internet (Leafsteadt, 2007). Even though new technology means faster, almost instant information, the business model form of the media has been compromised. Audiences get their information from online sources which go straight to their gadgets and devices.
A lot of people got their news by just switching their device on and looking through their internet browser. There was news all over the world about the Boston Marathon Bombing. Not only did they cover the event, but they showed people how they can help and what they can do in order to help those who were victimized. News regarding the Boston Marathon was easily accessible, thanks to the internet.
The internet is available all day and any day. People have access to news and current events in their homes, at the office, in their automobiles – practically everywhere. The roles of media professionals have been forced to be reevaluated. This is because of the availability of social media networks and the type of information that is made available to readers (Gattiker, 2002). Even though the newspaper industry will not vanish over night, it is inevitable that it will dry up in the future.
The nice thing about this news being readily available is that people formed a community and were able to unite. The news and journalism during this event helped because live coverage was available. This meant that journalists were quick on their feet. Those who were there to report on the sports event were quick to relay news about the bombing. The attention shifted towards the more important facts, and the journalists were able to deliver.
The sense of community in a local newspaper can still be retained in areas where print media is appreciated. Unfortunately, with the convenience of tablets, many newspaper houses are turning to online releases, updating their website and keeping people in the loop with their websites. Revenue from advertising is not the same for this industry and will not remain the same. This issue that affects the press is ongoing. Numerous newspaper businesses have closed down in the last five years, locally and abroad. The future for traditional and regional print media looks gloomy (Platon, & Deuze, 2003). It is a surprise that there are still some local newspapers that are still around. However, even though this news about the Boston Marathon Bombing was disseminated mostly through live broadcasting or the internet, there were still many newspapers that covered this event and relayed news to those who preferred traditional journalism.
The issues that mattered during this day was about the people who were injured and those that were killed because of the bombing. The information that was reported was done so in a sensitive way, and not only was the entire nation informed, but the whole world also heard about this tragic event. The journalists during the Boston Marathon Bombing helped shed light on what was important during and after such a sad event.
Provide Information, Encouragement and Consolidation During A Time Of Crisis
There are good things and bad things about new technology and how fast news can spread with the help of new media. New technology and instant information also means a decline in media credibility, this goes mostly for broadcast media. As a business model, this is not a good thing. Many people can go online and pose as a journalist, reporting on information that they deem factual through a video or a podcast (Gattiker, 2002). The availability of news and information is great for democratic opportunity. However, it opens up the need for more trained journalists. When it comes to a tragic event such as the Boston Marathon Bombing, accurate reports are needed. The trained journalists who were able to report on the event as well as on the people who were involved did so in a way that provided information, encouragement and consolidation.
Personal points of view are being traded off as “factual” and commentators have no regard for accuracy (Carey, 2000). Not only is this affecting the newspaper business, but the broadcasting business as well. Many people would rather listen to their own music through their smartphones and mp3 players rather than tuning in to the radio. Those who are involved in broadcasting have to rethink their business model and advertising efforts in order to reach their target market. Advertising campaigns are not the same as they were. The digital revolution is just at its beginning, meaning that the media still has a lot of room to change. It does not mean that media as a business model will completely collapse.
Although YouTube and other social media platforms provide a great way to disseminate information, it shows that it can degrade quality journalism. However, during this particular event, these social media outlets proved the function of journalism as being able to encourage or support those who needed it the most.
There were a lot of people who “shared” information on FaceBook about those who were affected by the bombing. Many people also uploaded their own videos on YouTube regarding their point of view of the event. Many of these videos helped the police and local authorities pin-point exactly where the bombings happened.
The campaigning, marketing and advertising efforts of those who are involved in the media just have to be reevaluated. Instead of sticking to the traditional business model for the media, it is possible for those involved to take advantage of the instantaneous transmission of information that the internet offers. The problem with the “free-to-air” media is that media personnel have to rely on brand-loyal readers (Schudson, 2001). Hopefully, in time, there are ways to generate more revenue by growing an online audience for media houses. The key is not to fade away in the background but to learn the ins and outs of the new technology and find a way to take advantage of the new opportunities that the mobile revolution offers. This involves serving information on those platforms consumers find more convenient.
Although traditional journalism and citizen journalism cannot really be separated, especially from an event like this, stories about the lives of those who were involved definitely helped shape the community. A lot of celebrities and prominent political figures put in efforts to help those who were injured because of the bombings. A lot of movie stars and actors made it a point to visit the victims of this event while they were in the hospital. This kind of news was reported by journalists and it helped many people get through the tragic event. Videos as well as news articles online about charity funds as well as efforts given by people to help the victims was spread, and people were really united for this cause because of the journalistic efforts.
Provide Entertainment / Uplifting Portraits Of Human Nature
Journalism has really played a big role in the Boston Marathon. This tradition will not cease because of the incident that happened earlier this year. Even six months after the tragic event, many reporters are still providing uplifting stories that have helped people through this very tragic event. Just two weeks ago, reports on amputees learning how to run again are being spread all across the internet. These uplifting stories of victory and hope have helped many people through their battle, and it provides encouragement during a time of grief or consolidation (McNair, 1998).
Stories of heroism and helping those in need were also highlighted by the media. This function of journalism can help people relate to those who were affected, and it also provided encouragement for those who were victimized. Stories that can help restore hope in humanity really helped many people across the nation.
There were stories about people who selflessly helped victims out of the bombing scene. There was one report about a team of soldiers who were watching the marathon when the bombing happened. After witnessing people fall and seeing debris everywhere, they rushed to the scene, pulled the chain-link fences back to help doctors and nurses through and helped carry injured victims off the road. There were selfless acts recorded during that time of people just working together as one. These are things that were seen during the tragic Boston Marathon, and it’s these stories that can help people get through what has happened.
Too many people hear about the negative things that happen around the world, and its stories like these that help people lighten their hearts and look at the bright side of things. Although the victims of the event will never see the Boston Marathon the same way again, they will know that when they fell, there were others there to help them, and journalism really captured the unity of the community through these stories.
When people hear about the media, they think about the negatives sides such as sensationalism or inaccurate reporting. However, not all bad things come from true journalism. Even though the internet and social media has changed journalism as well as how news is reported, there are a lot of good points to journalism, especially those seen during the Boston Marathon Bombing.
People were brought together because of this event. Not only those who were involved in the event, but everyone around the world heard about this news. The focus on the coverage was not on what happened, or who did it. Most of the news seen was about the victims and how the community was affected (Hartley & Hartley, 2006). The stories of heroism and unity shone through, and until this day, encouraging stories about people recovering from that dreadful event are still being released.
The events of the Boston Marathon Bombing and what happened after shows the true functions of journalism. People from all over the world did their part in helping spread the world about victims. Even celebrities and famous athletes did their part. Just days after the event, the big game between the Boston Celtics and the Indiana Pacers was postponed because of the event. People did their part to encourage each other during the time, and the media as well as journalists reported on the stories that helped inform those who wanted to know more about how they can help the victims of the Boston Marathon.
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