In their first tutorials, I asked my students what the first news/media event they remembered was. It’s a 100-level class, so some of them are 18. This is some of what they came up with:

Iran-Iraq War (1980-1988)*
Velvet Revolution (1989)*
San Francisco earthquake (1989)*
Gulf War (1990-1991)
Blue Jays win World Series (1992/1993)
Kurt Cobain commits suicide (1994)
Canucks lose in game 7 of Stanley Cup final / riot ensues (1994)
OJ Simpson car chase / trial (1994-1995)
Princess Diana dies (1997)
Y2K (1999)
September 11, 2001
Michael Jackson dangles baby over balcony (2002)
Tsunami (2004)

The students who listed the earliest events (marked with asterisks) all stated that they remembered them because they were there when the event happened (so it was a personal memory as well as being a media event). Mid-90s was what I expected. The more recent events… well, I’m pretty sure that they all can remember further back than 2 years ago. (Some of them even listed stuff that happened this year!) I figure those students just said the first thing that came to mind (rather than their first-ever memory). But… I suppose it is possible that 9/11 is the first big event that some of them remember.

Feel old yet? 😉


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