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Sun - 21.01.2018

An anniversary to remember

An anniversary to remember

The 10-year anniversary of the September 11 2001 terrorist attack is approaching and the news landscape is preparing for it.

The Knight Center offers an overview on how US news media are planning special coverage of the anniversary, while, as AP reported (via WSJ), Al Jazeera English, which didn't exist at the time of the attacks, aims to bring an "a global perspective to the anniversary that domestic networks likely won't". Facebook, in partnership with the National September 11 Memorial & Museum and social marketing platform Involver, as the Washington Post reported, launched a Web app asking people to share how they are remembering the 9/11 attacks.

Besides the impact from a political, cultural and international point of view, news media are also debating on the effect that this last decade has had on the news itself.

What has changed in these ten years from a journalistic point of view? How is the press covering the anniversary?
The debate also includes whether this massive coverage of the anniversary, that will dominate news front pages, is appropriate or not and, as The New York Times wrote, how to draw a line between commemoration and exploitation.

The French online news site Rue89, for example, has decided to skip 9/11 anniversary coverage. Rue89 founder Pierre Haski commented on the decision on Twitter: "Les anniversaires sont 1 des plaies du journalisme. Resultat : tout le monde fait la même chose au même moment. Pas d'anniv sur @Rue89." (Anniversaries are one of the bains of journalism. As a consequence, everyone does the same thing at the same time. No anniversaries on Rue89).

On the other side, Poynter analysed how America's news habits have changed as well as the media's role has.

The differences in the way people consume news of course also affects this issue. Print newspapers are loosing ground to the Internet and this appears to be true also in this context. As Poynter pointed out, this shift was particularly evident in the way people got their news about Bin Laden's death in May, by which time only people 65 and older got more of their news from newspapers than the Internet, the article said. "Turn on the television" was what people calling each other on 9/11 morning were saying, the article noted, while Bin Laden's death rapidly spread on Twitter.

Poynter also highlighted that Facebook, Twitter and some news aggregators sites like the Huffington Post that so now have much clout, didn't even exist ten years ago.

But still, what Poynter's article correctly underlined is that what newspapers' front pages on the morning of September 12 2011 did was a lot more than just giving the news: they were trying to convey a meaning to the event.

No matter in which way we get the news, what newspapers can still continue to do is to enshrine something that captures the meaning of the event, providing the necessary background to approach and analyse what has happened.

Sources: New York Times (1), (2), AP (via WSJ), Washington Post, Twitter, Foreign Affairs, Knight Center, Poynter
Image source: New York Times



Federica Cherubini


2011-09-09 17:33

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