Daniel Halliday
Nov 18 · Last update 1 mo. ago.
What was the most historically important televised moment?
Television became one of the most important forms of broadcast media in the 20th century, as audiovisual technology improved television became increasingly popular and most peoples experience of important world events were witnessed largely through this medium. What were the most important moments of of televised history?
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Challenger disaster
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BP Oil Spill
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The fall of the Berlin Wall
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2011 Japanese earthquake, tsunami and subsequent nuclear disaster
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September 11th Terrorist Attacks
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Moon Landing
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Challenger disaster

The explosion of NASA’s Challenger Space Shuttle on 28th January 1986 was the first US loss of life in the name of space exploration. Initial investigations found that the disintegration of the shuttle was due to the rocket failure, and the subsequent government appointed Rogers Commission found that NASA managers had ignored their own safety rules and various engineer's pre-takeoff recommendations. Due to a NASA “Teacher in Space” publicity program, that aimed to send the first teacher into space, the event was widely viewed live in schools in the US, with 48% of American elementary and high school students claimed to have seen the disaster live. This disaster was the start of a crisis period for NASA which arguably curbed their space exploration potential, however the disaster has also served as a case study to improve engineering safety and workplace ethics in many fields, making it a particularly poignant moment .

youtube.com/watch?v=j4JOjcDFtBE

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BP Oil Spill

On 20th April 2010 an explosion on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig led to one of the largest accidental spills in industrial petroleum drilling history (only exceeded by the Gulf War and Kuwaiti oil spills/fires and the Lakeview Gusher) and the worst in recent US history. Due to the prolonged extensive nature of the disaster, the initial fire through to the repeated attempts to cap the underwater oil well, received a large amount of televised coverage. It is estimated that nearly 600,000 tonnes of crude oil leaked in the ocean before the flow was finally contained on 19th September 2010; having a huge environmental, economic and human health impact in the Gulf of Mexico. Arguably disasters such as this strengthened environmental concerns worldwide, pushing the public desire for cleaner renewable energy sources, and the BP oil spill being such a highly televised disaster would have had the biggest impact on viewers.

youtube.com/watch?v=NHOWa-JjIMA

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The fall of the Berlin Wall

The Berlin Wall was constructed after the Second World War to divide the German capital between the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany) and the German Democratic Republic (or East Germany), even though the whole of the city was situated inside of GDR territory. The wall was partly demolished following the protests of the ‘Peaceful Revolution’ which lead to a change of government in the GDR, but then fully demolished following German reunification in 1990. It is hard to put a number of viewership to such a historic event but to put in into perspective even a commemorative rock concert garnered up to a billion viewers. The fall of the Berlin Wall had global implications, marking the end of the Cold War, the fall of the Soviet Union and subsequent freedom a large number of former Soviet states. youtube.com/watch?v=zmRPP2WXX0U

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Daniel Halliday
Dec 4
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DH edited this paragraph
The Berlin Wall was constructed after the Second World War to divide the German capital between the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany) and the German Democratic Republic (or East Germany), even though the whole of the city was situated inside of GDR territory. The wall was partly demolished following the protests of the ‘Peaceful Revolution’ which lead to a change of government in the GDR, but then fully demolished following German reunification in 1990. It is hard to put a number of viewership to such a historic event but to put in into perspective even a commemorative rock concert garnered up to a billion viewers. The fall of the Berlin Wall had global implications, marking the end of the Cold War, the fall of the Soviet Union and subsequent freedom a large number of former Soviet states. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zmRPP2WXX0U
2011 Japanese earthquake, tsunami and subsequent nuclear disaster

On the 11th March 2011 a magnitude 9.1 earthquake occurred off the coast of Japan at 2:46 pm, triggering a massive Tsunami, with waves as high as 40 m travelling a maximum of 10 km inland. This massive natural disaster was the worst in Japanese history, and power cuts caused by the Tsunami lead to the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant experiencing a major meltdown and a series of nuclear explosions. Initial smartphone footage made this a widely televised natural disaster, but the unfolding of the subsequent nuclear disaster made prolonged international news giving people firsthand accounts of how truly destructive earthquakes can be. 13,896 people lost their lives in this disaster, 6,157 were injured, 2,537 remain missing, nearly a quarter of a million people remained displaced 4 years after the disaster, and it remains the costliest natural disaster in history. youtube.com/watch?v=GTM9hIIPwTw

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September 11th Terrorist Attacks

On the 11th of September 2001 members of terrorist group al-Qaeda staged terrorist attacks across the United States using hijacked civilian passenger planes. The attack destroyed the World Trade Centre, in New York and the west wing of the Pentagon in Virginia, with the World Trade Centre buildings attacks receiving widespread media coverage due to their central location in Lower Manhattan. This was the deadliest terrorist attack in history with 2,996 direct casualties, and one of the only instances where most of the event was broadcast live leading to over 2 billion viewing across the world. These attacks, lead to the War on Terror, to major anti-terrorism changes made in legal, intelligence and civil aviation industries, and they left lasting cultural scars that have lead to a multitude of issues today. youtube.com/watch?v=wNNTcHq5Tzk

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Moon Landing

On the 20th July 1969 Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first people to land and to set foot on the surface of the moon. This event was broadcast on live television around the world to an audience of approximately 500 million. The landing of Apollo 11 marked the end of the space race, accelerated innovations in rocket and computer technology, and the fact that it was televised helped to inspire a new generation to become scientists. This historic piece of television may have been "one small step for man", but it is arguably the most important moment of televised history. youtube.com/watch?v=CtwSgvstl8c

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