Larry Mantle

Is Michael Jackson's Memorial News?

This morning we tapped into a passionate debate on whether the coverage of Michael Jackson's death is commensurate with his artistic and cultural importance. Some listeners have been critical of how we, and other media, have spent time looking at Jackson's legacy. Others have expressed surprise that we would even ask the question of whether the performer's artistic output merits intense attention -- they see it as clear that Jackson is worthy.

To me, the newsworthinesss of Michael Jackson's life is evident -- his influence on other performers, his innovations in dance, the role he played in establishing the popularity of music videos, the enormous sales of his albums, his global popularity, and the significance of his being in the public eye for 40 years. His unexpected death at a comparatively young age also factors into the level of interest we're seeing. I think there's also no question that his memorial service tomorrow at Staples Center will be a huge local event.

Tomorrow, we'll be carrying Jackson's memorial live at 10:00 a.m. We'll also have KPCC reporters Downtown to fill us in on what's happening in the vicinity of the arena. I'll talk with you then.

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