9/11 today. Nine years ago the earth stood still in the Western world. Nothing would be the same ever again. The world changed. Of course, nothing would be the same after 23 of october 2003 as well. Or after 2nd of april 1998. Things change. And sometimes, the world changes more than other times. We will have to learn to live with it.
The one thing that really did change in the last 9 years, is journalism. I blogged about it already before (in Dutch) and I see it happening again, on a more global scale. On a lethal scale. Quality journalism a few years back would do decent research and channel only the relevant parts to the public. The parts that mattered on a regional, national or global scale, in the respective news channels. If it was on the regional paper, you knew the people one city further wouldn’t care about it. National? Not interesting for your neighboring country.
In that world, news of small groups of fanatics would be filtered out. Put in the category ‘keep an eye on them, but ignore for now’. But now, with Twitter, social networks and “everybody-can-be-a-journalist”-weblogs, these things get blown up. A lot.
In “old” journalism, Terry Jones would have been cast in the same box as the KKK, or some of the conspiracy theorists; keep an eye on them, but not interesting on a global scale. In “new” journalism, such a nutcase can choose a politically and socially sensitive subject and hijack not only the news, but politics. People have already died because of this. And it is only him and 50 followers.
The lesson learned here is that the Internet and selfmade journalism is a dangerous tool. As a society, we still have to learn how to use this global, uncensored network responsibly. We are mere children still.
Always be careful with what you read and write. And most of all, don’t get pulled in the heat of the moment. If someone insults you, don’t threaten to kill him. Engage in discussion, because most of the time, it is ignorance.