Media coverage, by definition, refers to the process of presenting certain information using different forms such as television, radio, newspaper, social networking sites etc. The information being presented can be a weather update, current affairs issues, political event, or scandal, entertainment. It is an important concept because it plays a crucial role in shaping the publics’ opinion and school of thought. For instance, bad coverage can lead to a negative image of a company. In this way, it is important for the media to adopt the correct communication style and theory before it presents the information to the local public.
There are different styles of media coverage namely biased coverage in which the media either supports or disagrees with the topic of debate. In either cases, it presents information in such a manner that the consumer is compelled to possess similar views and perception. An interactive coverage is the style wherein the media presents information by giving importance to the opinions of audience as well.
On the other hand, media may also adopt an unbiased coverage in which it does not take stand about the issue. In fact, it presents the data by being modest. A similar coverage was done on the recent Paris massacre on 13 November 2015 in which almost 128 people were killed. The following paper pens down the media coverage that the event received globally and relates it with the different communication theories studied in class. It also includes its impact on the media consumer.
A rock concert was arranged at the Bataclan music hall where there was a huge crowd of over 1500 people gathered to enjoy the event. Unexpectedly, few men entered the hall and started to fire. Initially, the audience thought it was the part of the event but they soon realized the bitter reality when they saw blood and corpses around them. The gunmen also took twenty hostages, which they killed brutally one by one. The terrorist were heard of saying one of the captives that the president of the country should not have interfered in the matters Syria, which gave the idea of their reason behind the attack. Three of the four attackers had blown themselves whereas the fourth one killed by the security forces who had immediately stormed the concert hall.
Same attack was done on four different places in Paris including busy restaurants, bar, city hall, and the national stadium where the important political leaders and ministers were also present. Even the president was there spectating the friendly soccer match between France and Germany. He was immediately shifted to a secure place and an emergency cabinet meeting was called to handle the issue. Around forty people were killed in the restaurants and eighty people died in the concert hall. Almost 200 people were injured during the event. Soon after, an emergency was declared in the country and the security was tightened at the country’s borders.
The media played an important role in sharing the event details with its audience. The president immediately went on national TV and declared the state of emergency in the state. As per the hypodermic needle theory, the media left a crucial impact on the audience. It scared the public and advised them stay indoors as the country was not safe at the moment. Five unexpected terrorist attacks were a huge blow the country and its residents. The market was immediately shut down and the busy places were evacuated. Apart from this, all the schools, museums, libraries, swimming pools, and gyms were ordered to remain close on the next day as well.
The media used an unbiased style of commination and coverage in which it made sure not to take any sides of any political or religious group. It did not put the blame of the attack on a particular group of people. In fact, it remained neutral and focused more on sharing and delivering of the facts regarding the event. The media set on live blogs and news analysis to keep the audience updated about the event.
The event has been the center of attention of all the modes of media including television, newspapers, radio, blogs, and different social networking sites. It drew intense newspaper coverage across the globe. The headline of Le Figaro in France was War in the heart of Paris while the other newspapers had a black or red front page symbolizing the event with war and carnage. Other newspapers whose front page was dominated by the attack included the Times, The Guardians, the Sun, and The Telegraph etc.
Apart from the newspapers, special pages on the sites were created that gave live updates regarding the event to the audience. The news channels also gave round the clock analysis to these attacks. Roundtable discussion was held on various news programs to analyze the attack, its causes, and influence. All the channels, news networks, and sited named this event as the biggest terror attack in Europe that had occurred in the last decade. Some called it a darkest night of the state or exporters of the death.
The Paris massacre was indeed a horrible incident resulting in a loss of death. The media covered the event intensely by being un-biased. It did not blame any religious or political group for the event. In fact, it simply presented the facts of the events and shared it with the public. However, some criticized on the immense media coverage that the event has occupied. Ridley included the point of view of Jeremy who claimed that this media coverage was unfair and unjust. It had ignored other atrocities that were taking place in Beirut and Baghdad.
The event itself was horrifying for the consumers and had a significant influence on their mind and thoughts. They got scared and became conscious of the security concerns. However, as per the hypodermic needle theory, which suggests that the media coverage has a direct, immediate, and powerful effect on its consumers. The media including television programs as well as the newspapers focused primarily on the massacre. It showed bloodshed, corpses, chaos, and disturbance to the public. They were strongly affected by this scene. They are found to be more protective now. They avoid crowded areas now, which they find it risky.
A strange effect of the media coverage is the movement of public opinion towards Islamists specifically. The way these people were portrayed in the previous attacks also made the individuals change their thinking. Although media itself did not blame any group for the attack but this sense of blame has been observed among the local people.