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Eleven people were killed by gunmen in an ambush at the Marikana informal settlement near Philippi in the Western Cape last week. It was, by any measure, a mass killing worthy of national outrage. But, perhaps because we have become inured to violence, it was just another news story that came and went. These days, it takes spectacular violence to grab attention. And so, when a gunman raked a crowd of country music fans with sustained automatic gunfire, killing 59 and injuring more than 500 in Las Vegas, it was global headline news. For a while, anyway. All this wanton violence raises questions about how the media should approach such incidents. The facile debate over how much attention the local incident gets compared with the global one is getting stale. One could even argue that less attention should be given to all such incidents. After all, if it is attention that the perpetrators seek, should they be granted it in large headlines and sustained coverage by television stations? T...

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