Did BU Now Really Interview Michael Jackson?

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michaeljackson68229Did BU Now really interview Michael Jackson?

The short and truthful answer is no, BU Now didn’t interview the world famous entertainer and culture-maker before his untimely death Thursday, June 25 from apparent heart failure on a bright, summer California afternoon.

So now, maybe the more important question is would BU Now have interviewed Mr. Jackson given the chance? And to that question we most emphatically answer yes we would!

How then, should BU Now handle this story? Absent the interview, what contribution can we make for our readers? Perhaps our best effort is to collect for our readers some of the major stories being written about his career and death, and then to present some of his most famous video contributions.

‘Link journalism’ is what the business calls it, and it’s the ability to deliver in real time multiple stories in multiple formats. It’s online journalism at its best…it’s what BU Now is all about.

So what are the major media saying about Michael Jackson on the day after his death?

The world’s most popular online news site CNN reports he was “both lauded and ridiculed,” that he was the ultimate crossover, and that he broke the color barrier before Oprah and Tiger. For CNN’s current coverage click on this CNN link.

USA Today’s coverage provides links to multiple digital-presentation formats from a single page. These links include an interactive graphic, slideshows, video clips and related stories. Click this USA Today link to enjoy its stories.

The New York Times presents a reflection on the pop icon’s cultural contributions. Its 4-plus-minute video retrospective offers snippets of some major moments in the singer’s life. The Times also links to outside sites to add depth and context to its coverage. Click this New York Times link to view the video and stories.

Personally, I like the Washington Post’s story best. While the Post’s coverage is not as popular as CNN’s coverage, nor as broad as the USA Today coverage, I am drawn to the authors’ reflective comments on the singer’s controversies and the timely quotes of his contemporaries. But, judge for yourself, and compare the coverage by clicking on this Washington Post link.

Certainly only the media can provide real time coverage of an event this significant. But how would Michael Jackson himself want to be remembered? What would be his ‘take-away?’

BU Now thinks his artistic contributions best summarize his life and energy. That only through his work can we really know him as an artist. And so, with the help of YouTube we present some of Jackson’s most memorable artistic moments.

Let’s start with his 1982 Thriller video. This 13-plus-minute video directed by John Landis set the bar for all music videos after the release of the most popular music album of all time. Relax and enjoy this ground breaking video. While the video’s embed code has been disabled (the code that presents the actual YouTube screen) you can enjoy the video by clicking on this Thriller Music Video link.

Following the release of Thriller, Jackson cemented his position as the all-time entertainer with his sequin-gloved Billy Jean moonwalk at the 1983 Motown 25: Yesterday, Today and Forever television special. Enjoy the fedora-topped icon, and try to keep up with his machine-gun speed dance steps.

Some critics claim that Jackson’s 1993 Superbowl half-time is still unsurpassed in its glitz and energy. You be the judge.

Some claim Jackson’s 1995 MTV Awards song-retrospective is evidence of his ever increasing problems. They claim his financial troubles, his child molestation trial, his alleged health concerns and trailing popularity all drove the performance’s frenetic energy. I don’t know about this. Does he really seem all that anxious to you?

Whatever your think about Michael Jackson…a never-to-be-equalled entertainer, or an angst-driven, reclusive freak…his life’s contributions will be remembered and celebrated by many for years to come. Certainly, the one-time innocence of this boy from Gary, Indianna has touched us all in some way.

His energy, vision and willingness to test the boundaries certainly can inspire us, too, to think great thoughts and take great actions.

Thank you, Michael, may you be remembered as someone who, however flawed, helped heal the world.

BU Now gratefully acknowledges Google, YouTube, and the other information and image sites for use of and links to their content. It will credit these sites as requested. Simply contact BU Now. Thank you.

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