The Case of Amanda Todd Suicide
Monday 25th March 2013
Mainstream media, also sometimes known as ‘mass media’, is a “collective journalistic entity” that provides news and information to a large amount of audience (wisegeek.com). Alternative media on the other hand is a form of media that may involve traditional outlets such as television, radio, newspapers and magazines. It reaches a much smaller and often a more specific audience. In this essay I will be comparing and contrasting the differences between these two main forms of media while looking at a recent Canadian social issue which is the case of the Amanda Todd suicide, the sad story of a bullied Canadian teenager who was led to taking her own life. I would be looking at how the story was portrayed through different forms of news media; both the mainstream and alternative form, while also comparing the ways these two different forms of news media coverage shapes Canadian mass opinion affecting our political, economic and social realities.
The death of Amanda Todd was quite shocking to the Canadian public as it is hard to believe that an innocent child could take her life so easily. But what the public were unaware of was why she was led to extreme measures of taking her precious life. In order for the public to be more aware and know the story in depth they would need to look to different forms of news media in order to get the information that they seek for. As mainstream media is for the mass and targeted at a large audience, I believe that it would be the first form of news media that the audience would look to in order to get a breaking news story. A form of mainstream media is Toronto based newspaper, Toronto Star. The story was portrayed as an article under the heading “Amanda Todd suicide: The web has a lot to answer for” (thestar.com). With a heading phrased like this, I feel that Toronto Star is already pointing fingers and the argument posited here is that the Internet is the cause of her death. It is shaping the minds of the audience to lead them to believe that it was entirely the fault of the internet. It places Amanda Todd in the victim position and the internet is the guilty defendant. Although, I believe that it is not entirely the fault of the internet. It is the people behind the internet and what they do with it that cause harm. Vancouver based newspaper, The Vancouver Sun covers this point clearly. It goes on to say that the person behind the internet is a ‘stalker’ and puts them in a dark light shaping mass opinion to believe that the ‘stalker’ is to blame for her death. It then goes on further to explain how the ‘stalker’ blackmailed and threatened Todd putting the stalker in the position of the villain and in a bad light, thus turning the mass audience view against this alleged ‘stalker’.
When looking at the Windsor based newspaper, the Windsor Star I realized how it doesn’t point any blaming fingers but it instead looks at a way of battling bullying because the heading was phrased as ‘Adults urged to combat bullying’. It doesn’t state that anyone is responsible for her death but instead states that “We have to teach them [teenagers] that what they’re saying to someone online can have a traumatic effect on that individual.” (windsorstar.com). This shows that most youths are unaware of the harm they cause to others while using social network sites and the newspaper goes on to explain that they need to be taught about the dangers bullying via the internet can cause.
In contrast to mainstream media and articles, is the alternative form of news media. Alternative media, as explained earlier, reaches a smaller amount of audience compared to mainstream media that targets the mass, so it is often not very easy for the audience to find certain information that they may be looking