If you are suffering from Oscar Pistorius murder trial fatigue; if you are thinking the South African media is over-doing it — think again. An international media monitoring company says the story is even bigger overseas than it is here. TheMediaOnline reports.
Data Driven Insight has dubbed it the criminal trial of the century. Considering that it monitors editorial coverage across all mediums, including 6.2 million social networks, 60 000 online newspaper, 2 000 print publications in South Africa, 33 radio stations and most local television channels, DDI might just know what it is talking about. It has concluded that this is the “biggest media story DDI Africa has ever seen”.
Its research shows that the 2010 Fifa Soccer World Cup was a smaller news story than the Oscar Pistorius story, according to updates posted on its website, ddiafrica.com. On 3 March , the day the trial started, the Pistorius story generated just under 10 000 new items per hour.
“Ridiculously, the World Cup is smaller than this story with the Pistorius trial generating a few percent more than the sporting event worldwide,” DDI Africa states on its website.
On Monday, when the media was barred from tweeting and blogging on the case, online conversations hit an all-time high.
“DDI saw that, remarkably, even though the journalists and broadcasters were stopped from sharing the testimony of [pathologist Gert] Saayman in the dock…, the conversation hit an all time high with over 11 000 articles in an hour.”
Not to mention the Pistorius memes doing the rounds. The now well-known Legopistorius, a profile on Instagram which depicts the trial with lego pictures, “snatched up 10% of brand-related coverage”.
Another peak in coverage came when it was reported that Pistorius had vomited in court while Saayman gave evidence of the injuries his model girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp suffered after he shot her dead on Valentine’s Day last year.
“Oscar’s vomiting in court also generated a big peak in media with a massive 1400 hits in an hour,” said DDI Africa.
The lawyers involved in the case have become instant celebrities. Defence lawyer Barry Roux is enjoying the most coverage compared to his legal rival, prosecutor Gerrie Nel, and Judge Thokozile Masipa.
“Roux takes the lion’s share [of coverage] at just under 60 percent against Nel and Masipa’s neck and neck score of 21 percent each,” said Data Driven Insight.
But while South African news media is showing a slight decline in interest compared to the first day, the same could not be said of some international media outlets.
“DDI Africa watched the Oscar Pistorius press unfold today [Wednesday] with awe. The statistics grew at an amazing pace. The word ‘guilty’ was used in relation to the fallen hero almost nine times more than the word ‘innocent’.
“At its peak, items were being published at a rate of 9 000 per hour.”
“The biggest media outlet was www.iol.co.za followed by a blog in Helsinki. USA and Germany published more stories than South Africa.”
The top countries reporting on the trial were the United States, South Africa, United Kingdom, Spain, Germany and Australia, and the biggest blogger was Lisa Davies, a US journalist.
IMAGE: Legopistorius / Instagram