News, Twitter and Michael Jackson’s death

Posted on June 26, 2009

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So Michael Jackson is dead. An era of pop has ended. Sorry to be such a hack about what a great story to go out on.

It’s 0145 BST and I’ve just got home after a frantic few hours in the newsroom, extended past my normal late shift finishing time.

On the taxi home I was wondering to myself if this will be one of the stories that everyone in media gets into a frenzy over but which actually in the cold light of day turns out to be irrelevant to most of the public.

We’ve totally gone to town on this story. First there was a breaking news bulletin a 11.33, followed by hourly updates. Three teams are being sent from London to the US to cover the story and the Washington desk has also had to decamp.

I was on the phone non-stop to Uri Geller’s house and lined up an interview for tomorrow morning at 8.30pm which should be shown on the special 9.30am bulletin as well as the news at noon. The real thrill was watching websites for updates – the LA Times’ coverage was outstanding, both on their site and through links on Twitter (care of Andrew Nystrom).

On the way home in the taxi the radio station was playing back to back Michael Jackson tracks. In the office the screens that I’d been staring of street scenes in LA, at the hospital, outside his house all gradually became  filled with a mass of people pouring out to express their grief.

As I got out of the taxi, shattered after a long day and on an adrenaline comedown I told the driver I hoped he enjoyed the Jackson tracks. “Actually,” he replied “I’m really upset about it.” Look forward to seeing what tomorrow brings.

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