The world is still recovering from the news that Nelson Mandela, the peaceful opponent of apartheid and moral beacon of our time, has passed away at the age of 95. Whilst this was expected, his old age and earlier bouts with illness helped prepare us for this tragic day, it was still a shock to see it announced by the President. The newspapers had prepared for this and within moments of his death becoming public knowledge they had rolled out obituaries complete with videos, slideshows along with missives from friends and political commentators. In the age of 24 hour news this is to be expected. The channel, website or blog which has the best coverage of his death is going to receive all of the hits and ratings. That’s an unfortunate part of life.
But how do politicians express their grief quickly and succinctly? Naturally they have statements prepared well ahead of time for all manner of situations but they can’t simply give them to the media and ask them to hold off on publishing them until the subject actually dies. That would be appear cruel and uncaring, the opposite of what they want to convey.
It can take anywhere from moments to hours for a media statement from a politician to permeate through the mainstream media channels. That is why politicians are now taking to Twitter to release their statements. Statements are now released concurrently on the micro-blogging site AND on the politicians (or governments) websites. Others, such as President Obama, give a standard television press conference (with a team both uploading the written statement to Twitter and onto the website) but also stream it onto YouTube.
In this way the politicians appear understanding and appropriately reflective and are able to get their message straight to the