Frankie Mancini / Gavel Media

Ask the Gav’: What was the first news event you remember having an impact on you?

Welcome to Ask the Gav’, where every other week, we ask four Gavel staffers a question, and you get to read their answers! This week, we’re taking it back to the early days, when the news was just some boring channel your parents had on while you weren’t allowed to watch The Suite Life on Deck. But sometimes, world events can creep into our subconscious, only to be fully understood years later. So, Gavelers,

What was the first news event you remember having an impact on you?

Sherty Huang, Head of Copy:

While I'm not sure I can think of the earliest news that impacted me, a significant event that comes to mind is the removal of Confederate monuments a couple of years ago. Sparked by the violence in Charlottesville during the summer of 2017, the debate that ensued raised questions for me about historical legacy. Mainly, who decides which histories are remembered? And in what fashion they are preserved? Undoubtedly, the ways in which we memorialize those who came before us—Confederate, Union, or otherwise—will manifest in the education of future generations. I wonder how they will remember the darkness of America's past, as well as its present turbulence. 

Julia Swiatek, Opinions Editorial Assistant:

The first news event I recall having an impact on me was the election of President Barack Obama. I was eight at the time, so I wasn't really interested in the political stances the of candidates. Rather, I had been learning a lot about the Civil Rights Movement in school, particularly during Black History Month. When I saw that Obama had won, I thought about those leaders and how their efforts had come to fruition in modern time. It was exciting for me to think that I lived in a time where racial discrimination was finally eradicated. Later on, I realized that wasn't true. Though a black man rising to the most prominent position in the government was a reason to celebrate, it did not indicate the end of racism in this country.

Patrick Carpenter, Sports Editor:

One of the earliest news events I remember having an impact on me was Hurricane Katrina, in August of 2005. I was six years old. Although I was really young, I can clearly remember the images of destruction left by the hurricane. Photos of the city underwater and the thousands of people forced to seek refuge in the Superdome remain powerful reminders of the devastation. The tragedy coincided with a period of my life when I loved setting up lemonade stands on the corner by my house. I have a clear memory of proudly selling lemonade to donate to the people affected. The destruction left behind by Hurricane Katrina is one of the first national news stories I really remember.

Nico Borbolla, Associate Features Editor:

I think I remember the death of Michael Jackson so vividly because of the intense denial that came along with it. I wasn’t some sort of Michael Jackson superfan (although I heard the news from a friend with a family full of them), but his music brought so much joy to my life. "Billie Jean" was among the first songs I remember wanting to hear so much that I snuck onto the family computer past 10 to play it on YouTube. But Michael Jackson was more than an artist. He was music. His death signified the death of a certain strand of insouciant joy in pop music, one that was eventually replaced with the commercialized celebration of excess we hear nowadays. Long live the king.

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