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Monday, September 11, 2006

Old Manhattan Melodies

I can hardly believe that it's been 5 years already. So much has happened in these 5 years, of course.

Although most of the people who saw what happened on that day saw it mediatized through TV and the media, the sheer horror of it all was still all to real for anyone in New York...and not just on that day but for weeks after that.

In my opinion, things are worse now than they were before September 2001 in terms of personal safety, freedom and liberty. If there's a lesson to be learnt from all this is how effective terrorism can be when the response of those who govern the terrorizes is not directed towards the actual source of the terror.

9/11 made it uncomfortable for me and countless others to live in America. New York City is a very different place than it was before September 2001. There are too many suspicious eyes looking at people with even the mildest of middle eastern features. Not to mention the fact that at certain times the city feels like a police state. I won't even get into the nonsense at the airports.

So instead I'll now turn my attention to the positive (if that's the right word!) outcome from that horrible experience.

MaltaMedia showed its best qualities on 9/11 and in the ensuing weeks. We were on the forefront of local media reporting these world-changing events from a Maltese perspective. We were lucky, if that's the right word, to have direct audio reports from New York simply because I lived there at the time. The team, including editorial director Martin Debattista and Darrell Pace, who was the main content producer for the MaltaMedia Online Network at that time, made the best of the unique resources we had and produced an extensive feature. The regular audio webcasts from New York, and others from Malta too, where a pioneering example of what can be done through the internet to report international events from a local perspective.

The original webcasts are still available along with the 9/11 feature at They have now also been repackaged into a series of 24 podcasts. This podcasting series was originally released as the world's first Maltese language podcasting series in August 2005.

MaltaMedia recognized the potential of the internet and other new media to provide an immediate news and information service to people around the world interested in global events from a local perspective. Through its focus on the World Wide Web as its primary communication platform, MaltaMedia continues to be the main torchbearer for the future of media communication in the Maltese Islands, as it has done since 1998.

We're far from perfect, of course, but at least 9/11 helped us see (and show) that we can rise to the occasion even when events are simply overwhelming.

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