"It's on the edge of memory," one of my senior journalism students told me last week in History of Journalism." Most of these University of Central Oklahoma students were in first or second grade those 15 years ago. (This year's new freshmen were only two or three!)
That's why I'm interrupting the class for a week to study the journalism of 9/11, then and since. We just spent two weeks getting up through the First Amendment and the Alien and Sedition acts, and it's appropriate to stop and evaluate that history and perspective with this coming week.
It won't just be looking at images and videos, though it'll include some of that. I want them to study how it was covered, ask questions of ethics and procedures, and probe how journalism has changed since then and why.
American history and the history of the press is intrinsically intertwined, especially with the development of the First Amendment. Without the press to spread biased news and foment rebellion, it's quite possible there would not have been a revolution. And the First Amendment was a compromise needed to unify the 13 colonies so they would ratify, sometimes narrowly, the Constitution.
The lessons and conflicts were obvious surrounding 9/11 and continue today. That's the perspective I want them to learn, because 9/11 is history to them.
Fortunately there are many videos and online documents for our attention and discussions. You can see some of them on the class blog if you care to look, I Am Journalism.
I'll let you know about some of their conclusions and comments later.
"When dawn spreads its paintbrush on the plain, spilling purple... ," Sons of the Pioneers theme for TV show "Wagon Train." Dawn on the mythic Santa Fe Trail, New Mexico, looking toward Raton from Cimarron. -- Clarkphoto. A curmudgeon artist's musings melding metaphors and journalism, for readers in more than 150 countries.