Shows like Love Island forge the foundation of Reality Titbit. In fact, without it, we probably wouldn’t be here right now.
January marked a record traffic surge as the first-ever Winter Love Island series was broadcasted on ITV and each summer gifts the website with content as the hottest singletons of the UK head to the infamous Mallorca villa.
However, that’s not to say we agree with various exploitation tactics used on the show and a host of other similar reality TV series.
Almost all reality TV series are scripted – yes, including Love Island – and producers set out to define clear, identifiable characters by picking and choosing what contestants say on camera. Reality Titbit always aims to make this clear.
And, of course, it’s not just the cast members who are set upon by the media and general public when they agree to appear on TV. The death of 40-year-old presenter Caroline Flack has shocked the nation and is yet another reminder that everything said online has a consequence, no matter how small the press think an article is or how insignificant a randomer believes their Tweet is.
Cancelling Love Island could signal the downfall of this website but unless huge changes are made to the care of both contestants and those involved in the show by both ITV and the media then it’s the right thing to do.
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How to sign the petition to cancel Love Island
There are various petitions online asking for the cancellation of Love Island.
However, this petition has gained the most attention and already has over 200,000 signatures. After 100,000 signatures, petitions are considered for debate in Parliament.
While the linked petition isn’t specifically on cancelling Love Island it is about changing the culture of how the media and TV shows cover celebrities.
One supporter said he signed the petition because:
The pursuit of Caroline flack was not only intrusive and unfair but potentially drove her to think her life was no longer worth living. Absolutely appalling treatment of a vulnerable woman. And for what? To sell a paper!
Reality Titbit and HITC on Love Island and Caroline Flack
Reality Titbit has a brother website in HITC, who cover entertainment in movies, TV series, football and music. Matthew Nash concluded his thoughts on the issue with celebrity journalism in an article that read:
I am an online football journalist and have a history of mental health issues and constantly fight with my demons.
The Caroline Flack story, which broke at the weekend, hit home to me in a very personal way. Although there would have been a myriad reasons which would have led to her taking so sad an action, I could never claim to know how hopeless Caroline Flack would have been feeling. However, given my job for the last nine years, this news has really hit me hard.
As an online football journalist, I take news stories from around the globe, provide my spin on them and also produce opinion pieces. In my job, I cover so-called ‘Twitter reaction’ articles. This is when an article is crafted from fan reactions about teams or players across the social media platform. These type of articles can be very positive, but they also can be extremely negative pieces, which can be poisonous and may well have a very negative impact on the individual who is the subject of the article. And, as sensational headlines are often those that get picked up more effectively, online journalists usually manage to find the most sensational Tweets to form the basis of these kind of stories. This cannot be right. We as professional journalists must not use these kinds of tactics simply to generate more hits. We have to realise that there can be personal consequences because of how we present these kind of articles.
Here’s a story: A while back, I wrote an article about a Premier League player. He had just been released after a difficult spell at his club. In the article, I described him as a flop. A few days later, after some correspondence, I received a phone call. The player in question was on the other end of the phone. He protested he was not a flop. He was angry, forthright and most upset. I could hear him quivering at times. At that point it dawned on me what I had done was wrong. I also realised that this footballer and I were the same age. We have the same frailties, same insecurities, same chronological path through life. I told myself I had to try and be more positive going forward.
But the Caroline Flack situation has really brought it home to me. From now on, I will do my absolute best to be balanced in the content I produce. I won’t excuse mistakes, poor team or player performances – or fan opinion – but I will do my best not to cross the line from being constructive to being blindly vindictive. I will no longer give a voice to the groups of so-called football ‘fans’ who can be so cruel behind their keyboards.
So to the long list of players, I have called a ‘flop’, a ‘dud’, a ‘misfire’, ‘a waste of money’ – I am sorry. Although it was never personal, therein lies the problem. I, and most everyone else in the football content game – from the grunts like me, the esteemed journalists or the talking heads on radio and TV/cable – have stopped putting ourselves in the boots of the people we write about. Without that empathy, many of us have become vindictive, cold, and calculating. If the hit counter is going up, who cares who it hurts? Well, I do care, and I am going to do my best to do something about it.
Mat Nash works with GRV Media Limited, which owns a number of websites. Reality Titbit and HITC are going to try to do the right thing and follow Mat’s example with our celebrity coverage.