In an age where content is king, it is inevitable there will be casualties in the race for audience attention. Mel Greig and Michael Christian were just doing their job when they prank called the hospital where the Duchess, Kate Middleton, was receiving care for her intense morning sickness.
The collateral damage was not just one life lost, but multiple lives irrevocably changed. In a world where businesses and people are clamoring for the next viral win, the most number of re-tweets or 15 minutes of fame, these DJs were doing what they were expressly hired to do; create entertaining, possibly shocking content.
They did, and now they will pay -- probably not with their lives, but with their livelihoods. They will pay with emotional guilt and the understanding that they will never be the same after being part of this incident. I say, don't blame the radio agency or the two morning show hosts, blame the world. Blame the world for it's insatiable desire to be continuously amused, entertained and informed every waking moment of their collective lives. Blame the average person for tuning into morning radio shows to wile away their commute time on route to cube world. Blame the people that set up PR campaigns or employee paparazzi to follow celebrities, and while you're at it, blame the 80 billion Youtube users for spreading, sharing and unearthing life moments that are sometimes too much to take. There is no doubt that what happened was a tragedy, but you cannot stop or change the giant machine called social media. Like a forest fire blazing out of control, viral media will not be doused with a bucket of cold water dropped on the flames. Content is king, and it will rule until people are filled to the brim with the endless stream of new, sensational, never-before-heard bits.
When Mel Greig was first told that Jacintha Saldanha had died, one of her first questions was, "Was she a mother?" The answer was yes. She was a mother to two teenagers. She was also a daughter, a wife, a friend -- of course she was more than just a woman that answered the phone. Do not destroy more lives in the fallout of this tragedy -- allow those two DJs the space and time they need to heal in the face of them "just doing their jobs." Let's not repeat history by sensationalizing and hounding them to a place where they can't go on, only to become one more Jacintha Saldanha.
This is not the first incident of dying for content, nor will it be the last. Until the world stops seeking, poking and prying into the lives of others (and this will never happen), we can only blame ourselves when the line is crossed and someone dies. This incident won't change anything about our need for more content, better content or entertaining content because we too are dying to know.
Next week, I will return to my usual blogs posts on hot topics like; Which way do you hang the toilet paper roll? and Could eating Paleo help Santa? Content hopefully not intended to kill anyone.