What is the first major news event you remember? – InForum

FARGO — What’s the first big news you remember? How old were you? You were 7 years old? (You’ll see why I ask you this question later in this story.)

I was thinking of my first topical memories last week on the 53rd anniversary of the moon landing. It appears from this page of my baby book that my parents made me write my name on this exact date – July 20, 1969.

Sadly, I have absolutely no recollection of that most remarkable day in American history – whether it was Neil Armstrong’s “giant leap for mankind” or me conquering early calligraphy with my ginormous John Hancock-sized TRACY .

I have no recollection of the day man first landed on the moon, but my parents made me scribble my name in my baby book to mark the occasion.

Tracy Briggs / The Forum

For me, the first real news event that I remember in detail was when members of a Palestinian militant group took 11 Israeli athletes hostage during the 1972 Olympics in Munich, West Germany. All the hostages were killed. I will never forget seeing the images of hooded men on the balcony of the Olympic Village.

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This photo of a lone, unidentified Palestinian hostage taker has become synonymous with the Munich massacre, when 11 Israeli athletes were killed at the 1972 Olympics.

Photographer Kurt Strumpf / Forum Archive

The fact that my first real news memories date back to the summer I was 7 shows that I’m probably, undeniably average.

Studies show that children as young as 2 or 3 years old can retain memories of things that happen to them. But they probably won’t pay much attention to anything outside of their bubble – including news – until they’re closer to 7.

In fact, Common Sense Media, a resource for media usage, strongly recommends that parents wait until their children are at least 7 years old before exposing them to even light levels of information. Jill Murphy, Vice President and Editor-in-Chief of Common Sense Media, told The New York Times, “It’s developmental. It is never a good idea to share traumatic information with children of this age (under 7).

Perhaps that’s why so many of us bring back our first topical memory from the time of the start of elementary school. Of course, it follows that the more important the event and the closer it is to the child, the more likely it is to remember it at an earlier age. (For example, how many of you have memories of the 1997 flood or the 2009 flood even if you were under 5?)

I decided to ask a few of my colleagues in the newsroom – people who work in the news every day – what their earliest news memories were.

Like me, some have said that their first memories happened around the age of 7.

No wonder my high school friend, sports journalist and columnist Jeff Kolpack, had the exact same first memory of the hostage crisis at the 1972 Olympics.

“For some reason the voice of Jim McKay and the host of the 1972 Olympics will never be extinguished. Perhaps it was how he reported on the terrorists making the Olympics a news story for the worst proportions. Athletes taken hostage and killed is a memory I wish I never had. —Jeff Kolpack.

Columnist Mike McFeely’s first topical memory also dates back to when he was 7 years old in the summer of 1974, when Richard Nixon resigned as president in the wake of the Watergate scandal.

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President Richard Nixon resigned on August 8, 1974.

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“I don’t know how or why, when I was 7, I was watching a POTUS TV address announcing his resignation, but I was. We were at our family cabin near Alexandria, Minnesota, which at the time had only one television channel (KCMT Channel 7) and I remember seeing Nixon announce that he was going to quit. I knew from that moment that I would be a journalist and a democrat for the rest of my life. I laugh. I probably went swimming or hunted frogs. – Mike McFeely.

Some of my colleagues remember stories from their pre-kindergarten days. Journalist and columnist Tammy Swift remembers the moon landing.

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The man landed on the moon on July 20, 1969. Do you remember?

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“Although that’s probably more the case because my parents bought a color TV to watch. For me, the most interesting thing was watching them try to jam the TV through the back door.” — Tammy Swift.

Investigative journalist Patrick Springer’s first news recollection was one of the most tragic days in American history.

“This is easy but also tragic for me to remember: the assassination of John F. Kennedy in 1963. I was a preschooler, at home with my parents for lunch, and our friendly milkman – yes , back when the milk was delivered!—poked his head out the door and asked if we’d heard the President had been shot. My dad jumped up to turn on the TV and CBS’ Walter Cronkite was at the antenna with constant coverage. I was 5 years old, but it’s still a vivid memory. —Patrick Springer.

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Many adults today remember learning about the Kennedy assassination as young children.

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It was also amusing to hear the young journalists in the room whose first memories of news events occurred when some of us, shall we say, “seasoned veterans” were already working in the information. (I may have been heard calling them “little whippers” while writing this story.)

Investigative journalist April Baumgarten recalls the impeachment of President Bill Clinton in 1998, while editor Kaity Young has a very notable first news memory.

“As I imagine most people my age do, my first topical memory is 9/11. elementary school – something we almost never did. At school and at home we watched the footage over and over again, and I think it was also the first time I had real conversations on a major current event – ​​Kaity Young.

I’d love to hear from you about your first topical memory. Was it at the age of 7 like many of us? What do you remember? Email me at [email protected] with your stories to use in a possible follow-up column.

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Tracy Briggs, “Back Then with Tracy Briggs” columnist.

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