9/11

It's September 11th, 2011, and I don't want to cash in on the date, but I would like to share some thoughts.

In particular, I hadn't realised how many of my journalistic colleagues were inspired to join the profession by the events of that day.

Adfero's head of news feeds Nat Bertram raised the question on Twitter, noting both Kaitlyn Critchley and Jamie Smith cited 9/11 among their career influences.

Kaitlyn was at Adfero's Manchester office during the time I worked there, and was among the more talented individuals I met in my five years as an agency-based online journalist.

She summed up her thoughts today in a series of tweets:

"Coverage of the 9/11 anniversary is everywhere - was certainly a day that changed my life. I remember getting ready for school and was brushing my teeth when the news of the 1st tower came on the radio. Was late for school watching the coverage and was terrified. Also the first time I remember having a hunger for immediate knowledge. So I decided to study journalism."

For me, being a journalist and now a freelance copywriter has never been about the subject matter - at Adfero I covered everything from boiler replacements and drywall to hardwood flooring and, famously among my colleagues, online bingo.

While some people at the agency became dismayed when handed a brief on an obscure or 'boring' topic, I embraced the learning challenge of unfamiliar subject matter.

Professional indemnity insurance, modern-day piracy and most forms of financial product - loans, mortgages, savings accounts and pensions - all demanded research when I first encountered them.

But in September 2001, I had already chosen my university degree - an ill-fated foray into Astrophysics that consumed two years of my life and added around £7,000 to my student debt.

When I switched discipline in 2003, it wasn't a thirst for knowledge or a desire to write history - or even to write the news. I simply wanted to wield the English language as a tool, to explore the creativity and passion that I have always held for words and the things they can achieve.

I am as happy blogging about music, or writing static content for a niche e-commerce website, as I am reporting world-shaking events. It's not that I'm cold - quite the opposite. It's just that my motivations are different from most.

That being said, I'm not oblivious to the importance of the date - and I've spent most of the morning flicking between news channels, hoping the "ten years ago today..." reports don't turn into breaking news from New York, or any other major city.

While it seems September 11th 2001 put into motion a sequence of events that led to me meeting some of the most talented people I have ever known, I truly hope the next generation of journalists draw their inspiration from something much more positive.

As to the victims - it's not my place to lead the tributes, and I barely have the right to participate at all. Suffice to say, the magnitude of the day has not gone unnoticed here; let us hope such events are never seen again.

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