What does Osama’s death really mean for America and journalism?

Sunday, across the country, American’s took to the streets to wave flags, set off fireworks and sing songs like “Party in the USA” and “The Star Spangled Banner”. But as the dust settles, we must ask ourselves if a great triumph has really been accomplished. Is terrorism less of a threat to us now?

I would say no:

1. In the years following 9/11, Osama Bin Laden went into hiding as one of the largest manhunts in history took place. Al Qaeda began decentralizing their power after this and Bin Laden seemed to have become more a figurehead than a mastermind or leader. In conjunction with this – can you actually kill a figure as powerful as Osama? My best guess is that his legacy will live on, and that he will make others like him want to create more terror.

2. Will we withdraw our troops now? In the past few days, I’ve seen several dare I saw ignorant Facebook statuses happily stating that we can bring our troops home now. I wouldn’t be so sure. While talk has been optimistic in the days leading up to Sunday, pulling mass amount of troops out immediately would send the wrong message. However, this development does give Obama an opportunity in the near future to make a decision about our troops.

3. Pakistan and the Unites States seem to be unlikely allies – will it last? Obama’s speech hinted at the idea that there could be a forming Pakistan-U.S. alliance but in reality, the U.S. didn’t alert the Pakistani government of their attack in advance – maybe not the best way to start an alliance?

In my online journalism class on Monday, we discussed what the news of Osama’s death means for us as journalists. Whether we realize it or not (and hopefully as a journalist you’re on Twitter and saw it) the news of Osama’s death was broken on Twitter before it was released on television or any other outlet. This is huge. In class, we discussed where we were when 9/11 happened – every single person remembered where they were. Next, our professor asked us to try to wrap our minds around what 9/11 would have been like had Twitter and Facebook been around – assuredly it would have been completely different.

As journalists, we must ask the questions that the general public don’t know or forget to ask.  Journalism will never be the same as it was at the time of 9/11 – today is a day of instant news and to me, this makes journalism even more important. “The morning after” as I have affectionately termed May 2, 2011, journalists had to remind the American people to ask questions like I asked above. This is why I belive print news and ‘traditional’ journalism will never die.

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