By: Greg Mitchell
Updated at 11:15 a.m. EST
Leave it to The New York Times to go nearly everybody one better. As hundreds of U.S. papers come out with a special section this morning to mark the tragedy of Sept. 11, 2001, the Times — which won a record seven Pulitzer Prizes for its post-9/11-coverage — has produced not one but two inserts.
Both labeled “A Nation Challenged,” they are titled “One Year Later” and “A Year of Grief,” and run a total of 48 pages. The Times was unusually secretive about what might be in today’s package, but what it published turned out to be very much in the tone, look, and spirit of its daily “A Nation Challenged” section that ran for much of the past year — only longer, and in two parts.
Perhaps the most surprising part of the paper, however, comes on its Op-Ed page. There, between the usual columns by Thomas L. Friedman and Maureen Dowd, is a lengthy piece by frequent Times foe, George W. Bush, identified simply as “the 43rd President.” Titled “Securing Freedom’s Triumph,” it looks at the “great opportunity” offered by the current war on terrorism to “create a balance of world power that favors human freedom.”
Newspapers around the country were divided on whether to accept ads for these sections, and the Times came down on the side of taking them, although they are all in the form of tribute ads from companies such as Kmart and Bank of America, plus a more jarring call from ABC News to watch its coverage today.
The “Year of Grief” includes seven pages of tiny snapshots of almost everyone killed in the 9/11 attacks.
The first section, “One Year Later,” aptly leads with a story by N.R. Kleinfeld on life in New York today. He wrote some of the most highly praised, on-the-scene pieces exactly one year ago.
Most of the pieces in the section are what might be expected: profiles of victims’ families, survivors, and fire officials, as well as a look at Afghanistan. But it also includes a lengthy portrait of what happened to tenant companies at the World Trade Center and local businesses, and a month-by-month timeline of events divided into categories of New York, the War Abroad, Anthrax, and others.
Besides the two sections, the Times also came out with many pages of 9/11 material within some of its normal sections.
The front page banner reads, “U.S. Steps Up Alert as Solemn Day Arrives.”