‘Chicago Tribune’ Produces 9/11 CD-ROM

By: Joe Strupp

As newspapers count down to Sept. 11, hundreds of editors are readying special sections and features to mark the one-year anniversary. But some papers are going beyond the expected response with efforts aimed at giving readers something more than additional coverage.

In some cases, the approach is as simple as the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette delivering its Sept. 11 issue to all its subscribers on the anniversary date, not just to its weekday subscribers. That means about 150,000 readers who take the paper only on Sunday will get the anniversary edition, at no extra charge. “It’s that important to us,” said Maddy Ross, the Post-Gazette‘s managing editor.

For other newspapers, such as The Tuscaloosa (Ala.) News and The Tribune-Democrat in Johnstown, Pa., making the anniversary issue a keepsake is a priority. The News is printing a special section on heavier paper stock to enable it to last through the years, while The Tribune-Democrat is publishing a 60-page glossy magazine devoted to nearby Shanksville, where one of the hijacked planes crashed. “Everyone is fighting to get in it,” Editor David M. Levine said about advertiser response.

Among the most ambitious 9/11-related projects is the Chicago Tribune‘s. Next Sunday, every copy of the Tribune — whether sold on the street or delivered to subscribers — will contain a commemorative CD-ROM. The disc will include all 600 Tribune stories related to the attacks that ran between Sept. 11 and Sept. 21 of last year, streaming-video interviews with 25 Tribune reporters who covered the story, and more than 300 photographs of related images, including many that never ran in the paper. “It’s a way to access the journalism through a different medium,” Tribune Editor Ann Marie Lipinski told E&P.

The CD-ROM, to be added to the paper at no additional charge to readers, also includes video images from Tribune Co.-owned TV stations WGN in Chicago and WPIX in New York as well as a computer program tracking the flight path and chronology of each hijacked plane. Although the final cost of the project is still being determined, it was expected to be in the $250,000 to $450,000 range, according to Owen Youngman, Tribune vice president for development.

In a similar effort, The Asheville (N.C.) Citizen-Times is pressing 1,000 copies of a CD-ROM for use in local schools as a Sept. 11 study tool. The disc, which is being produced by Sonopress Inc. of Asheville (at no cost to the paper), includes reprints of the Gannett Co. Inc. newspaper’s Sept. 11 stories, and audio interviews with local citizens that are tied to a lesson plan about the terrorist attacks. The 54,862-daily circulation paper also plans to distribute 30,000 free copies of its Sept. 11, 2002, print edition to local schools — and to the area’s many home-schooled students.

Another approach, used by papers such as The Salt Lake Tribune and the Winona (Minn.) Daily News, involves inserting patriotic posters for readers to display in their windows. The Tribune plans a poster depicting the phrase “Hate-Free Zone” over an outline of Utah in its Thursday issue, while the News has been inserting a series of four posters each Sunday since Aug. 18. “The theme is to remember, and not with a violent image,” said News Publisher George Althoff. “It is tasteful and focuses on inspiration.”

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