Blogs » Your Advocate: an editor's blog » Where were you on 9/11?


I couldn't absorb what had happened that morning as I was preparing to take our daughter to elementary school.

A plane hit the World Trade Center? Strange, to be sure, but what did it mean? I had no frame of reference.

I went ahead as usual to volunteer in the library, helping kids read before school. Hushed conversations floating in from the hallway provided little more understanding.

By the time I arrived at the office shortly after 8, it was clear we had to kick into high gear to produce an extra edition, only the third time I had ever done that in my career. The newsroom assembled, stories and photos were assigned, the machine went into motion.

I don't even recall watching the towers fall as I focused on advising reporters and photographers, editing stories and working with designers. I would glance at the TV and move on. We had no time to do otherwise.

As soon as we finished the extra edition, we had to focus on the next morning's edition. Food was consumed somewhere in between it all, but the overriding flavor of the day was confusion.

What stands out is one of the most memorable phone calls of my career. A woman somehow reached me late in the day to say how grateful she was to get her hometown paper's extra edition. She explained she sat glued to the TV all day but didn't know what to make of all the coverage.

Only when she read what was happening in her churches and schools and City Hall did she begin to get some understanding of the day's events. Her paper comforted her during her country's darkest hours.

That call rings in my ears even 10 years later.