The Morality of Mortality: An examination of media representations of the deaths of popular musicians
The work on which this submission is based examines the ways in which deaths of popular musicians are represented in the media, offering a critical flashlight on and problematic spotlight of social values conveyed through media discourse. I argue the discourse is distinct in relation to this data set; that popular musicians are treated in several very distinct ways different to the treatment of other famous people in the coverage of their deaths. These narratives both reflect social views and reinforce dominant discourses of lifestyles stereotypically associated with popular music. Underneath these recurring narrative devices operates a layer of morality and judgement, which is inaccurate, often misleading and potentially communicate unhelpful messages to distressed and vulnerable members of the public. At its most extreme, irresponsible reporting of suicide and acts of self-harm holds a “risk of copycat behaviour” (Samaritans. 2013: 7). It is this argument anchored in supportive primary research and additional impact work around best practice, which is presented as the original contribution to knowledge.
Hearsum. P. 2014a. Popular Music Journalism, CDA and the deaths of musicians – contributing case study to James, M. Popular Music Journalism. London: Routledge (forthcoming)
Hearsum, P. 2014b. ‘Three faces of motherhood in death: Amy Winehouse, Whitney Houston & Donna Summer’ in: Strong, C & Lebrun, B. 2014. Death and the Rock Star. Aldershot: Ashgate (in production)
Hearsum, P. 2013a. 'The Cultural Economy of Death: advertising and popular music' in: Wharton, C (Ed) Advertising as Culture. Bristol: Intellect. pp109-126
Hearsum, P. 2013b. 'Music journalism: experience, engagement and meaning' in: Turner, B & orange, R (eds) Specialist Journalism. London: Routledge Chapter 10. pp107-123
Hearsum, P. 2013c. 'Zappa and Mortality: the mediation of Zappa's death' in: Carr, P (Ed). 2012. Zappa & the And: A contextual analysis of his legacy'. Aldershot: Ashgate
Hearsum, P. 2012b. ‘27 Forever: Kristen Pfaff and the Coverage of Death as the
Re-presentation of a Gendered Musical Life' in: Jennings, R & Gardner, A. Rock On: Women, Aging and Popular Music. Aldershot: Ashgate. pp103-122.
Duffett, M & Hearsum, P. 2014c. ' Re-imagining Richey: celebrity disappearance, Manic Street Preacher fandom and Ben Meyer's 'Richard''. Participations: Journal of Audience and Reception Studies. forthcoming
Hearsum, P. 2012a. 'A musical matter of life and death: the morality of mortality and the coverage of Amy Winehouse's death in the UK press' Mortality. Vol 7. No. 2 pp182-199
Hearsum, P & Inglis, 2010. When two worlds collide'. Journal of Celebrity Studies. Vol 1. No. 2. pp. 239-241