RIP and Remember Jana Novotna

There is a case in news of the overshadowed death. It’s not a pleasant thing to report, as often someone who has lived a great and prosperous life dies on the same day as someone who the news focuses on.

The current case is that of 1998 Wimbledon champion Jana Novotna, who stole hearts in 1993 after shedding tears after losing to Steffi Graf, who died yesterday on the same day as serial killer and sometime musician Charles Manson. As it turned out, the news deemed the death of Manson to be more newsworthy and a larger reporting issue than that of Novotna.

There’s been others through history: take Groucho Marx and Elvis Presley, Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson, or even Mother Theresa and Princess Diana (who died a few days apart) and of course Dodi Fayed. In those cases one person’s death was practically overshadowed by the other. Is it nice to have to pick one? No of course not, but ultimately it’s choice of the editor to pick the one that will draw the bigger headlines or audience.

In cases of Manson and Novotna, many people may not have thought about either for years, and one person had a great sporting career winning a pinnacle tennis tournament, the other made some bad music and murdered a group of people, including a pregnant woman.

Of course its a tough decision, but ultimately the news editor has to make the choice on which to focus on and the results will not always be popular.


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