Nation’s Papers Mark 9/11 In Variety Of Ways

By: E&P staff

Updated at 3 p.m. EST

Newspapers around the country today responded to the first anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks with a wide variety of coverage and visual statements.

Many papers published separate special sections — but several larger papers surprisingly chose not to, in some cases feeling that 9/11 “fatigue” had set in and so chose to follow a more concise, yet still powerful, approach. Some filled their front pages only with visuals; others ran poetry or large quotes; one printed an essay by Mitch Albom, another chose Garry Wills for that slot.

(Coverage by the New York-area papers is reviewed separately: New York Times and New York tabloids.)

The Wall Street Journal: As promised, the Journal low-keyed it, with no special front-page design and limited stories. Its featured columnists are Peggy Noonan and Theodore Olson. A Jonathan Eig front-pager looks at a widow weighing litgation over 9/11. Each of its inside sections leads with a 9/11 related story. A major “Marketplace” feature examines “How Damaged is Downtown,” while “Personal Journal” looks at “The Religion Bubble.”

The Washington Post: Today’s front page looked like any other edition of the paper, with a variety of stories on local elections, the high terrorist alert, and tensions in Iraq. But inside the paper, editors played up the anniversary big with a 16-page special section on the tragedy, as well as stories on each of the section fronts related to the event. “Half of the sports section front is devoted to this,” said Executive Editor Leonard Downie Jr. “We look at how this has changed everyday lives.”

Los Angeles Times: The newspaper featured a 16-page special section, “A Year After Today,” containing some ads, all in the “tribute” vein. Except for an introductory essay looking back on the past 12 months, the special section concentrates on the personal side — people directly affected by 9/11, not necessarily those in New York. “We put a wide net out,” said Leo Wolinksy, deputy managing editor. “There were 60 or more submissions. We picked the best.” But all appear on the paper’s Web site. As for today’s front page, Wolinsky said he can’t recall a Page One like this in his 25 years at the paper: a 6-column-wide, 5-inch-deep photo (shot yesterday) of the Manhattan skyline from Jersey City, where a man sits on a bench, under the flag where the main head would ordinarily be printed. “That was a real change for our paper.” He added that there had been some “concerns” about keeping the “tone of the page” appropriate to the occasion — e.g., moving any stories of cynical, apathetic, or tired reactions to events off page one. But the way the news of the day worked out, it wasn’t an issue.

San Francisco Chronicle: Editors placed a black border around the front page and the first page of each section in an effort to give the edition a different feel. “It was an understated symbolic gesture,” said Assistant Executive Editor Narda Zacchino. “It was important as a statement.” Today’s Chronicle also included a 12-page special section.

Fort Worth (Texas) Star-Telegram: It published an edition at the usual time this morning and then boldly put together an extra edition with a four-page 9/11 wrap-around that closed at 10 a.m. Central time — to include coverage of today’s early commemorative events in New York, Washington, and Pennsylvania. Ten-thousand copies of the extra edition are being distributed free in downtown Fort Worth, according to Executive Editor Jim Witt.

USA Today: It made the one-year anniversary its lead story with a front-page headline declaring “A Nation Remembers,” but offered no special sections today. The paper had published four special sections last week on various aspects of the attacks and their aftermath, along with a two-day series on air traffic controls two weeks ago. “We thought that readers might be able to absorb it better if we spread it out,” said Editor Karen Jurgensen. “We thought today might be overwhelming for many people.”

Detroit Free Press: It devoted its entire front page to an image with no Page One stories. The front page showed a lit candle dripping wax that is covered with photos of the dead, several hijackers, as well as President Bush, Rudolph Giuliani, Osama bin Laden, and other images of the day. The headline proclaimed, “9/11 One Year Later Remember. Forever.” Underneath the Free Press headline is a column by Mitch Albom, in the form of a letter to bin Laden in which Albom tells the terrorist leader, “You failed. … we are smarter, stronger, more aware and involved.”

San Antonio (Texas) Express-News: Its front page also featured mainly an image and no body type. It showed a shadow of the destroyed Twin Towers site with a color photo over it with two people holding hands and an American Flag. The lone headline read, “A Moment of Silence.” “We wanted it to be a very arresting cover,” said Editor Robert Rivard, who also included an eight-page special section inside.

The Philadelphia Inquirer: The paper decided not to publish a special section today after putting out a special 48-page Sunday magazine three days ago, according to Editor Walker Lundy. Instead, the Knight Ridder-owned paper printed a banner headline today that declared, “A Nation Changed,” with a shot of the statue of liberty and lower Manhattan. “Our approach today is less is more,” Lundy said. “You reach a point when readers have seen enough. We wanted to capture the feeling of the day.”

The Boston Globe: It was also among the larger papers that did not print a separate special section. The Globe led the front page with the banner “America Remembers” headline over a page-wide photo of people near a mural in lower Manhattan. Inside, a two-page spread listed the deceased along with four pages of photos from Sept. 11, 2001 and a full page of memorial events.

The Dallas Morning News: In Dallas, a 12-page special section included a montage of photos of 2,800 of the dead, with a list of all their names.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Instead of publishing a special section, the paper reprinted 200,000 copies of a collection of its recent reports on how life in America has changed over the past year. Wednesday’s paper focused on how the anniversary would be recognized around the country.

Chicago Tribune: It took a fairly low-key approach, in a special section titled “Still Standing” that featured an original essay by noted author Garry Wills. Its double truck showcased photos from Ground Zero.

Chicago Sun-Times: It also was pretty laid-back, for a tabloid, with an AP photo of workers at the Pentagon unfurling an American flag filling most of Page One under the headline, “Let Freedom Ring.” It had no special section.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution: It included a two-page wrap listing all the names of those who died a year ago, while a 16-page special section ran inside. The section included a cover with photos of four babies born on this day a year ago.

The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer: The paper opted to have eight of its best writers pen essays that were published in a 12-page special section. Subjects ranged from children to Arab-Americans to heroes. “We knew that by today people would be on the verge of O.D.-ing on Sept. 11 retrospective stuff,” explained Tom O’Hara, the paper’s managing editor. The paper thought essays would be “certainly more interesting to read and more reflective in nature, which I think is what today is all about anyway,” he said.

St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times: It ran a 12-page section featuring names of the attack victims and photos that hadn’t been widely published, and and minimal text. “We wanted to print stuff that hadn’t been seen before,” said Anthea Penrose, a spokeswoman for the paper. Coverage of Florida’s problematic primary election dominated the front page, although the newspaper continued a string of stories on the anniversary that it began running at the beginning of the month.

(Minneapolis) Star Tribune: The paper chose Twin Cities poet Wang Ping to pen a poem to commemorate Sept. 11. In addition to the poetry, which ran in the “Variety” section, the paper published a 16-page section titled “How We’ve Changed.” The anniversary also dominated the front page, which ran this hed: “Grieving and on Guard.”

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: It ran a special eight-page section today that heavily focused on a year-later-look at Shanksville, the town about 65 miles east of Pittsburgh where Flight 93 crashed. This inside section was prominently teased on Page One, said Editor and Vice President John G. Craig Jr. The number of Post-Gazette copies distributed in and near Shanksville doubled or tripled this week, according to Chuck Jenkins, the paper’s all-other-zones circulation manager. The paper, as we previously noted, distributed copies today to all of its Sunday subscribers who normally don’t take the weekday edition.

The (Baltimore) Sun: It published a 16-page broadsheet special section with a cover photo of the New York skyline. A photo series inside showed rescue workers and survivors, at the time of the attacks and now.

Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, Ill.): Its front page had a large “Day of Remembrance” photo and nothing else but bulleted quotes meaningful on this anniversary, from a broad range of people — including Helen Keller, Rep. Henry Hyde, and Oprah Winfrey. The paper’s lengthy special section of 28 pages focused on local reactions.

Chattanooga (Tenn.) Times Free Press: It featured an eight-page special section that is almost entirely local copy, including interviews of local people, especially those who lost friends and relatives and those who witnessed attacks. “We revisited all the local people we know who had connections to the attacks,” said Alex Chambliss, assistant city editor. It also focused on what he calls the “impact of September 11th on all sorts of local levels” — funding, charitable giving, etc.

Lexington (Ky.) Herald-Leader: “We turned our front page into a billboard made up of a mosaic of pictures from last year’s 9/11,” said Editor and Senior Vice President Amanda Bennett. “We took our [usual] masthead off and moved it to A3. Our masthead today reads, ‘9-11-02.’ It’s really a pretty dramatic cover.” Virtually all of today’s Herald-Leader A section is devoted to 9/11 content.

The Anniston (Ala) Star: The paper featured a 12-page, ad-free special section. “We tried to … give readers something they couldn’t find anywhere else or in any other special section or TV special,” said Troy Turner, managing editor. “We did that by focusing on local stories.” He added: “We just didn’t feel like ads belonged in this particular section.” The area probably has more connections to terrorist attacks than most other cities not in immediate vicinities. The federal government’s Center for Domestic Preparedness, a training center for emergency responders, is in Anniston. “It’s our policy never to run poetry,” Turner said, but the Star ran one poem today, submitted by a reader, that it thought especially appropriate. The paper will have print over-run and enough copies for the local schools.

Omaha (Neb.) World-Herald: Its special section contains no regular advertising. “We created a memorial ad and asked the advertisers if they would like their names listed,” said Larry King, executive editor. Maybe Americans are “too attached” to anniversaries, he added, “but that’s what we do.” But “I think we served our readers without being overbearing.”

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