Media if 911 Had Not Happened Do Essay
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If 911 had not happened do you think the Summer of the Shark would have become the Year of the Shark? If not, what do you think the next big story would have been? (search news sites and other online references to find other news stories that could have been big, but were overshadowed by 9/11)
The term "summer of the shark" has become a joke to refer to the way the media flailed about in order to find its next big story to lure and hook viewers. The University of Florida News reports that the summer of the shark was the summer that never was; the numbers were already exaggerated and it would not have been a viable lead for news agencies (Keen, 2002). In fact, Keen (2002) points out that actual numbers of shark attacks were down that year, not up.
In spite of this, sharks still could have stolen the show had the show not been interrupted by September 11. There were no groundbreaking news events that occurred in 2001 that were nearly as significant or world changing as September 11 terrorist attacks in the United States. Several smaller news stories were significant, including the progress made by the Human Genome Project, which revealed the human genome sequence and "preliminary analysis" on February 12 ("Top Ten World News Events of 2001," 2001). However, the media could not and would not use a scientific breakthrough like the Human Genome Project as a lead because it is not sensational enough. Instead, the media might have latched onto the rampant destruction caused by the earthquake in Gujarat, which occurred in January of the year and killed 20,000 people ("Top Ten World News Events of 2001," 2001).
Beijing earned their bid to hold the summer Olympics, which was historical. Napster was in the news a lot, as lawsuits related
to intellectual property were ongoing and highlighted the need to pay attention to the ways file sharing technology was challenging the entertainment industry. There were also several newsworthy stories related to climate change, but none singular enough to capture the attention of the public for more than one news segment ("Words in the News -- Archives, 2001," n.d.).
2. Look at a presidential election year since 2001 and see if you can find a new story that should have been big, but since it was not politically motivated, did not make the headlines as much as it should have. What was it? What was the current trend in the media instead? (what was the popular political topic, gay marriage, taxes, war, etc.)
2004 was not as slow a news year as 2001 was before September 11. There were many stories that were big, and which competed with the dull presidential campaigning that characterized George W. Bush and his Democratic opponent John Kerry. Kerry's lackluster persona did not make the election cycle particularly interesting for anyone, which could be why American voter turnout was low and subsequently led to the re-election of Bush.
There were several high profile deaths in 2004: that of Ronald Reagan and Yasser Arafat the most notable. However, these were deaths of senior politicians whose lives could be eulogized in a series of stories rather than consuming the bulk of the years' reporting. The war in Iraq was raging, as was the Commission on 9/11. However, by far the most significant event to occur in 2004 from a global perspective was the tsunamis after the 9.0 earthquake in the Indian Ocean; the death toll was an astounding and unfathomable 150,000, making this one of the most…
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