It kills me that so many times when a big story breaks I'm somewhere other than work. Don't know why that is. I was away when the Simpson/Goldman murders were discovered. I was asleep when the 9/11 attacks occurred. And I was on vacation when Michael Jackson, the King of Pop, died following a propofol overdose in his rented Holmby Hills home. That was five years ago this week. Although I wasn't at the station when our initial coverage began, as soon as I returned to work, Michael Jackson mania became a part of my life.
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Jackson's fans were a big part of the story. They were everywhere. They congregated at UCLA Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead. They surrounded the home where he overdosed and gathered in front of his family's home in Encino. We found one group of admirers standing around the Michael Jackson star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame -- unaware that the plaque on which they were placing flower tributes belonged to another Michael Jackson, a local radio personality. The King of Pop's star was blocks away; inaccessible due to a move premiere. When our reporter pointed out the discrepancy, the fans didn't seem to care. One Jackson was as good as another.
As the Jackson drama moved to the courtroom, where his physician, Conrad Murray, was on trial, Fox 11 expanded its coverage in a unique way. We offered, through iTunes, the Michael Jackson Doctor Trial app. For 99 cents, one could follow breaking news alerts, live video streaming from the court, a video timeline that traced Jackson's career and lots of related stories. In a very shot time, this became the top-selling paid news app in iTune's store, and held that number one position for weeks. I played a small role in that effort, providing some of the video and still photos that made up the app's timeline feature.
For those who wish to take a stroll down memory lane, I've included some brief video clips of FOX 11's coverage of Michael Jackson's death:
The first clip shows the scene at UCLA, where paramedics took the unresponsive pop star. Brother Jermaine Jackson announces Michael's death and then the singer's body is sent to the coroner's office for an autopsy.
The second video shows fans surrounding the wrong Michael Jackson star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The other Michael Jackson star is located near Selma and Vine and is there for American radio talk show host and commentator based in Los Angeles. The King of Pop's star is located near TCL Theatre across from the El Capitan on Hollywood Blvd.
The final clip reflects the scene in front of Jackson's West L.A. home, as LAPD detectives arrive and the lead investigator explains why the death is being treated as a homicide.