In the face of utter chaos, the importance of being a journalist

This time it wasn’t the telex bell ringing out in the newsroom on Socratous as it did at the assassinations of J.F. Kennedy in 1963 and Robert Kennedy in 1968. They were television screens that showed smoke and blood and clouds of dust accompanied by the roar of destruction as the Twin Towers, struck by two commercial airliners, collapsed, along with the myth of America the Invulnerable. CNN and other television channels broadcast the images and news, and astounded journalists tried to take notes. Then the flood of cables began, bringing confused information. It took 20 hours for the pieces of the puzzle to fit into place, and the culprits remain unknown. In the face of the evil that struck New York, Washington, Pennsylvania and wherever else the hand of terrorism reached, journalists rediscovered their mission, searching for news, investigating, seeking eyewitnesses, all without the luxury of satellite links and networks. The news, unadorned and terrible, has to go onto the screen and into print, immediately. It was a rush against time. Greek Kathimerini went into three editions. And the headlines became collector’s items, as did the newspapers. The Athens benchmark index lost 5.38 percent to 2,248.39 points. For the week it gave up 15 percent or 399 points. Since Tuesday’s terrorist attack, it has lost 12 percent. It is an overreaction, but investors are fearing Monday’s US open and discounting it opening lower, said head analyst at Kappa Securities Nikos Galoussis. Banks and telecom stocks lost 4.92 percent and 4.22 percent respectively. The Athens bourse’s FTSE/ASE-20 index of blue chips fell 4.86 percent to 1,268.79 points. The FTSE/ASE-40 index of mid-caps lost 8.26 percent while small-caps dropped 8.81 percent.

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