When Is Too Much News Too Much?

In my job, the answer to the question posed above is never… usually. News is our business. If we do our jobs right, our clients own a bit more space in the news today than they did yesterday. But this the Oscar trial and coverage thereof has bordered on the ridiculous.

If I were Oscar Pistorious’ communications person, I’d be pretty bored right about now. In fact, I’d probably be somewhere very warm and extremely cocktail-ish taking a load off knowing my crisis person is on the case and our monitoring service is burning rubber to deliver our clips every hour on the hour.

This is the story PR dreams are made of – one that tells itself, over and over and over again without the need for pitches, emails or calls begging interest from really disinterested and busy media.

But how much is too much, I asked myself this morning on the day of the verdict. And I’m not talking about Facebook posts or Twitter trends, you can’t control the masses – I’m talking about news.

During the trial, if you watched on TV or tracked online, you’d have had to have been very, very NOT busy in order to keep it all in order. Blessedly, we’ve had a bit of a quiet period follow over the past few weeks and, sadly, today it has all started again, as if it never ended.

“Reeva’s mum enters court”, “Oscar’s sister is crying again”, “Reeva’s mom finds her seat”, shout the headlines every couple of minutes.

Do we really, as a consumer and as a country, need this type of spam in our lives?

On days like today, I miss a gentler time. When we had to buy papers for our news; a time before the Internet; a time where if you were interested, you paid your R2 for the afternoon paper or listened to the radio and watched the 19h00 news bulletin on SABC. Nothing, except for the royal wedding, which still confuses me, was ever important enough to cover all day long back then.

Today, in this new world, I just feel rushed and overwhelmed by all the headline updates and I’m not certain that this is a good thing anymore. Are you?

Written by Andrea Slater