If you approached a newsstand a year ago today, no matter where on the planet you were, chances are good that you were reminded of the events of September 11, 2001, and their effect on the decade that followed. With photographs, infographics, special supplements and personal essays, news organizations around the world paid a great deal of attention to the tenth anniversary of the tragic attacks.
Today, however, even residents of New York City will find the front page wiped of the memory; both The New York Times and The New York Post left mention of the attacks off of A1, as Poynter observes, although both the Post and the Times feature it at the top of their websites.
At 8:46 AM in New York City and Washington D.C., firefighters, police, and the President and First Lady were among those holding a moment of silence to commemorate the time at which the first plane struck the World Trade Center. Television networks ABC and CBS observed the moment on their morning shows; NBC’s “Today" left if off, airing an interview about breast implants with a star from “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” in its place, everywhere except in New York, according to Media Bistro.
The New York Times’ new Public Editor, Margaret Sullivan, explains in her column, titled “How to Cover the 11th Anniversary of 9/11?,” that while the strong feelings of pain, outrage, and loss associated with the tragedy will never fade, “the amount of journalism, however, must.”
Sullivan goes on to describe the concept of “anniversary journalism,” explaining that news organizations struggle to find fresh things to tell about historical events like D-Day, Veterans Day, and 9/11 every 365 days. She asked two editors for their input: Metropolitan Editor Carolyn Ryan said that “some anniversaries offer a natural reflection point,” such as last year’s refection on a decade, while others should be marked “in a more modest way.” Deputy Metropolitan Editor Wendell Jamieson added that commemorative coverage should bring something new to the reader’s attention. “You look for an angle that has news value,” he told Sullivan.
Poynter is presently taking a reader survey on whether the time has come for newspapers to move on. So far, the results are close: 49 percent (52 votes) have responded, “No, you can find a new angle” and 41 percent (43 votes) say, “Yes, if there’s nothing new.” At 2:30 EDT this afternoon, Margaret Sullivan and Charles Apple will discuss how to tell whether the time has come to move 9/11 off the front page.
Meanwhile, 9/11 is very much on the front page of Twitter in the United States, with several of the country’s trending topics pertaining to the anniversary. Andy Carvin, the Social Media Strategist at U.S. public radio station NPR, has asked his nearly 75,000 followers whether they remember what they were doing #onSept11. He has been busy retweeting all of their responses, which have come in droves. Here are a few samples:
Whether or not it will indefinitely remain newsworthy on its anniversary, September 11, 2001 is engraved in the world's collective unconscious. As Twitter user @Susan_Reddick put it, “I think the memories are seared in all of our minds.”