WIS GM: OJ Simpson trial changed news media forever - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

WIS GM: OJ Simpson trial changed news media forever

The following Perspective is an expression of opinion by the Editorial Board at WIS, and presented by General Manager Donita Todd.

We recently marked the 20th anniversary of the grisly discovery of OJ Simpson's ex-wife, Nicole, and her friend Ronald Goldman stabbed to death in Los Angeles. What followed was the implication of OJ Simpson, famous actor, football player and Heisman Trophy winner, in their murders, the bizarre white Bronco chase down the LA freeway, his eventual arrest and round-the-clock televised trial coverage. This epic news event played out over months and US audiences were riveted to the trial proceedings and eventual not guilty verdict which created racial tension and outrage across the country.

Who knew that this spectacle would be the catalyst for a completely different media landscape: one that includes a 24-hour news cycle, the unquenchable thirst for celebrity gossip, and a proliferation of reality television.  Two decades later, we seem to have become acclimated to the fact that every trivial detail of someone's daily life can captivate the public's attention. As one of Simpson's defense lawyers stated about the trial coverage, "What I realized is that this is entertainment, not news."

It's a somewhat disturbing evolution, but with the advent of social media and emergent digital information and entertainment sources, I dare say that there's no going back. Just a realization that this one singular event turned the course of television news coverage and defined entertainment for better or for worse.

That's my Perspective.

Write to Perspective at P.O. Box 367, Columbia, sc 29202, or send an email.

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