YEAREND SPECIAL: The “Newsmaker of the Year” is a recognition that the media presents and, at times, pokes fun at those who give them the most interesting attention-grabbing-copy-selling-primo-airtime-click-bait sprees though not necessarily meaningful or worthy news.
To wit, those with or without wit, the likes of Malay rights firebrand Datuk Ibrahim Ali, the ever sarcastic but oft misreported former premier Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and the sundry cast of newsmaking all stars are all worthy of the media’s honours for 2014.
As the much repeated line from the classic movie Casablanca says it, all the usual suspects.
And as is the norm, shades of navel gazing or not, we tend to highlight those who have been kind to us journalists and editors in giving us news that people are interested to read and we can spin to our needs.
Like it or not, in this day and age, reporting news is not really about doing the right thing but surviving to do what you can when you can, if not just doing anything to survive.
The almighty ringgit and the public clamour for exciting and interesting news if not government pinions and corporate or political party ownership often decide content and editorial leanings in a pinch if not the whole enchilada.
Journalistic principles and ethics do survive but more like little plants that eke out survival among in the cracks of the harsh concrete reality of the press.
Thus we often see the most controversial, loud and abrasive personalities out on stage, those who are prominent for one reason or another. The ones the public love to see, hear or read.
Even among those considered to be more worthy of coverage are usually those with distinguishing characteristics that make them more glamorous to the masses.
Indeed many news of worth and many people who have something important of note to say get passed over most times for lack of news currency and public attention stamina.
Such is the way of the media these days, though perhaps shaped to fit in and please the controversy hungry public and its Peeping Tom whims.
And as is the case most of the time, all the time, issues do not stay in the news for longer than the public can collectively remember, that is to say two to three weeks tops.
In this hustle and bustle of fast food incendiary news, it is not often that those whose lives are affected by the callous tincture of the printing press, the disarming panache of aired broadcasts or the speedily careless clicking keyboards of online news, be the focus of such.
With this in mind, Theantdaily decided to look at one group of people who are made the least news but who are most affected by the news this year so many made on their behalf.
Our newsmakers for 2014 are the family members and friends of the victims of the triple aviation tragedies of the Beijing bound MH370 which went missing over the South China Sea after departing from KLIA, the KL-Amsterdam MH17 shot down over the skies of Ukraine and QZ8501 which apparently went down midflight between Surabaya and Singapore in reportedly difficult weather conditions.
MH370’s disappearance continues to baffle experts and is still not found, making it one of the great mysteries of aviation history.
While its sister plane MH17’s downing by a still yet undetermined weapon system and uncertain perpetrators continue to be a matter of international political posturing and diplomatic debate.
And the recent disappearance of AirAsia Indonesia’s flight QZ8501 with over 162 souls onboard further shocked the region.
In all three cases they continue to suffer each time news of their loved ones are aired, often at their expense and always at great emotional costs.
More so for the loved ones of those aboard flight MH370 who have to endure the uncertainty of what truly happened. Which until today remains a mystery.
Indeed as time goes by, authorities continue to refine more “accurate” theories of what actually took place and the final resting place of the missing airliner yet unfound. Each time as “credible” and as “verified” as they come, in the play for media attention.
Not to mention the conspiracy theorists, hack writers and tale spinners each with their own book, report or movie on their version of the explanation behind the missing jet plane.
While for the family and friends of MH17, they continue to be political football of global politics as the US and its European allies concoct a tale of Russian aggression while Russia itself enacts tales of Ukrainian over exuberance.
They might know the wherewithal of the deaths, as in a crash after being shot down, but the political and diplomatic maneuvering continue to play up the issue and dig into their hearts.
So too at home, the loved ones of the victims of both MH370 and MH17 face the tumult of seeing their tragedy being made political currency by both sides of the political divide, every mention to stop “politicising” the issue ironically made on political platforms with critical leanings either way.
While for the families and friends of those onboard the missing flight QZ8501, the same holds true in that news of the tragedy continue to be the topic of many a broadcast, printed matter and online posting.
And so while they themselves may not have made as much news as the tragedies they endured and the loss they suffered, their courage and patience as they face this test of faith deserves to be honoured, especially by the industry that unwittingly or not profited the most from these unfortunate circumstances.
We may sympathise but perhaps cannot fully apprehend the anguish that they feel and continue to experience, though we can hope that the supreme and ever-enduring power that watches over us all grant them the strength and the fortitude to carry on.
And so it is with this in mind that we name the families and friends of those aboard MH370, MH17 and QZ8501, as Theantdaily’s Newsmaker for 2014.