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‘Grief Porn’ is a form of masturbatory frenzy engaged in by the media when there is some form of disaster or celebrity death. It exploits the basic voyeuristic nature of humans who get giddy by looking at the suffering of others and speculating about the events surrounding a death.

The steady multiplication of news channels, and the rapid frequency of breaking news have also multiplied the number of times we watch visuals of the same event in a day, or several days, as is often the case in celebrity deaths.  First Princess Diana’s accident and death, and then Michael Jackson’s in 2009, are events that have seen mass hysteria on the part of fans, in addition to a no-holds-barred snooping and a continuous focus from the media.

Personal grief and private sorrow are the casualties in this scenario.

Yesterday’s sudden death of a young woman, especially the daughter of a man as famous as Bob Geldof and with a history of family tragedy, was bound to be a headline event. But was the coverage by TV and newspapers over the top?

What ensued was a few of hours of vacuous, and sometimes embarrassing, interviews with “commentators” who endlessly repeated that it was a tragedy, that it echoed the early death of her mother, Paula Yates, and that Peaches had led an unconventional life. Twitter was scanned for quotable quotes which were then tweeted, tweeted and re-tweeted.

Meanwhile most national newspaper editors decided that the TV news shows were right to give the Peaches Geldof story top billing. Some devoted their entire front page to it, such as the Daily Mail, The Sun, Daily Mirror, Daily Star and Metro. The broadsheets also joined in with front page photo splashes. further analysis was featured inside. Every editor avoided the temptation to speculate on the cause of her death, respectfully repeating the statement issued by the police.

I personally found The Metro’s front page bordered on crudeness. It used the picture Peaches had posted on Instagram the day before of herself, as a baby, in her mother’s arms with the headline “Together again” The Sun pretty much did the same inside, using the same picture and the headline “With mum”

On the other hand The Telegraph’s formal obituary was both respectful and on point. Peaches, it stated, “was a journalist, model and television presenter. But her chief occupation was being Peaches Geldof, daughter of the celebrities Bob Geldof and Paula Yates. This was by no means an easy task.”

Naturally, we are bound to ask why a 25 year old woman should spawn so much coverage. What is it about 2014 news values that dictated such a response? Celebrity culture, is at its crux. It is also the case that when people die young and unexpectedly the uniqueness of the event affects the coverage. But when we stand back from this in a year’s time, it is likely that media commentators and journalists will reflect on whether the media response was over the top. In similar fashion to the mediatised deaths of Amy Winehouse, Whitney Houston and MJ.

What do you think? Was the press and TV coverage over the top? Should the media show more restraint and allow the the family to grieve privately? Is this just a reflection of society where celebrity is our opium?

Let me know what you think below!

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