You can scarcely turn on your computer, television, radio this week without being confronted with a growing crescendo of September 11th remembrance stories. This is understandable and I think entirely appropriate. Leading the pack, as it usually does, the New York Times has done an amazing job of both looking back and providing context for everything that has taken place over the past decade. It’s special web section “The Reckoning: America and the World a Decade After 9/11″ is a must read/watch/listen for anyone interested in taking stock of what happened and what it has wrought.
Other media outlets have also done a very good job, including the Boston Globe which ran its own multimedia series this week. Reporter Eric Moskowitz’s reporting on the impact of 9/11 on former Logan Airport employees who were on duty that day when two planes were hijacked from that location is particularly poignant. PBS’ Frontline looked at the consequences of 9/11 from another angle with its searing look at the rise of government secrecy in the wake of the attacks. Top Secret America, is Frontline’s companion piece to Dana Priest’s book of the same name. Priest is a Washington Post reporter and Pulitzer Prize winner.
George Packer of the New Yorker, penned a piece in which he argues that 9/11 really didn’t change anything — he called it “a small event in the life of this country.” I’m not sure I agree with that sentiment, but it’s a provocative article and worth a read. Packer also appeared recently on the PBS radio program On Point to discuss the article.
Perhaps the best program I’ve seen on the topic is the one that I watched with my 9 year-old daughter last night. The program “What Happened? The Story of September 11, 2001.” was produced by Nickelodeon to help kids learn about the attacks and their aftermath. It’s a difficult conversation to have with a curious kid, but I think this show had the right tone without too many scary images. (I pre-screened the program prior to watching it with my daughter and would recommend others do the same to ensure that they are comfortable with the content.)
And finally, I found this blog post interesting — not because it’s specific to 9/11 but because it talks about how storytelling has changed over the past decade. September 11th occurred just as the digital age was coming to life. We wouldn’t hear the words YouTube, Facebook, or Twitter for years after the attacks. Can you imagine what it would have been like if those tools were available that terrible day?