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09/11/11

TV News Reflects on 9/11/2001: ASU’s Aaron Brown, ABC’s David Muir

With the 10th anniversary of the 9/11/2001 terrorist attacks approaching, TVNewser reached out to anchors, reporters, producers and executives for their thoughts on that day, and what they believe has changed in the last 10 years.

Arizona State University’s “Walter Cronkite Professor of Journalism” Aaron Brown, who anchored on CNN that day. It was first day on-air at CNN:

I did a lot of television that day, emotionally I think I ran the gamut from a feeling of total stupidity, along with shock and horror when the first tower fell. There I was just trying to hold this broadcast together, hold myself together, the broadcast seemed to be doing fine. This huge thing happened, one of the things an anchor needs to do in those moments is to be one step ahead of what is happening, try and anticipate what is happening. And here is the biggest thing that could possibly happen and I didn’t anticipate it at all. There were a lot of scenarios, but I didn’t think that. And then you start to hear a clock ticking because you know that at some point, a minute, 10 minutes and hour who knows, the second tower is coming down too.

One of the weird memories of the day was Walter Isaacson, who ran CNN at the time and was my boss, and was incredibly smart guy and a great news guy. The only time I remember a boss coming up on the roof, he came up and said “this isn’t a story, this is history. And I thought that was spot on, that is exactly right. This is so beyond anything any of us had other done, I thought that was a great way to put it. We really were doing history that day, history is the kind of event where you say ‘where were you when you heard? And we were all going to remember where we were when we heard.

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TV News Reflects on 9/11/2001: NBC’s Ron Allen, Univision’s Jorge Ramos

With the 10th anniversary of the 9/11/2001 terrorist attacks approaching, TVNewser reached out to anchors, reporters, producers and executives for their thoughts on that day, and what they believe has changed in the last 10 years.

NBC News correspondent Ron Allen:

I was living in London. We raced to catch the next flight to Pakistan within hours of the attack. Everyone knew Bin Laden was responsible. Pakistan was the way to get to him in Afghanistan. I spent the next 3 and a half months in the border region, covering the Taliban and their incredibly oppressive regime, crossing back and forth between Afghanistan and Pakistan a couple of times. Meanwhile, my life was completely and utterly on hold. I’d left behind at home an engagement ring, I’d just bought a few days before all of this, for my fiancé, Adaora Udoji, an ABC News reporter back then. Fortunately, she came to Pakistan too. We covered the war for competing news organizations, from different floors of the Islamabad Marriott, destroyed in an attack a few years ago. And when, it was over, we went home to London. I proposed. And we got married not long after that.

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Live Blog: TV News Covers 9/11, 10 Years Later

Broadcast Networks Cover 10th Anniversary of 9/11/01

The broadcast networks will all devote significant portions of tomorrow to special coverage marking the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. The evening news anchors — Brian Williams for NBC, Diane Sawyer for ABC and Scott Pelley for CBS — will each anchor coverage for their respective network beginning at 8 a.m.ET.

Following the conclusion of the scheduled memorial events, CBS News will air “Face the Nation” live from Ground Zero. NBC and ABC will preempt their Sunday political affairs shows, although “Meet the Press” anchor David Gregory will contribute to NBC’s coverage from the Pentagon and “This Week” anchor Christiane Amanpour will contribute to ABC’s coverage from Washington, DC.

Williams will be back on the air for a live broadcast of “Nightly News” from Ground Zero at 6:30 p.m.ET. ABC’s “World News with David Muir” will originate from the studio while the “CBS Evening News with Russ Mitchell” will be broadcast the WTC Memorial site.

TV News Reflects on 9/11/2001: CNN’s Soledad O’Brien and ABC’s Cynthia McFadden

With the 10th anniversary of the 9/11/2001 terrorist attacks approaching, TVNewser reached out to anchors, reporters, producers and executives for their thoughts on that day, and what they believe has changed in the last 10 years.

CNN’s Soledad O’Brien, who worked for NBC News as weekend co-anchor of “Today” in 2001:

I was pregnant with my daughter Cecilia, and I was taking my dry cleaning out. I looked up and I saw a plane slam into the World Trade Center — I lived downtown at the time. Everybody on the street stopped, and I thought, a small private plane — the pilot must have had a heart attack, and the plane hit the building. All you could see was the smoke. So I took my stuff to the dry cleaner, and then I went back home and turned the TV on. And then you could see, it was much worse.

NBC assigned me to go to Chelsea Piers, where the ambulances were. My sister, who is a surgeon, was dispatched there as well — we were talking a lot. I called my doctor and he said “the baby will be fine, but that stuff is very bad for you to breathe in.”  Read more

TV News Reflects on 9/11/01: Bloomberg TV’s Michael McKee, FNC’s Shepard Smith and Rick Leventhal

Bloomberg TV’s Michael McKee, who was headed to a conference at the World Trade Center when the first plane hit the North Tower, jumped out of his taxi and began interviewing witnesses:

Debris and smoke headed straight for me and I joined police and emergency workers who had been standing around and began racing for safety. The concussion from the explosion knocked me to the ground. And then came the clouds of thick black smoke that filled the air. I couldn’t breathe, couldn’t see. Suddenly, we were frightened by the sound of jets overhead again — what we didn’t know was this time it was our military jets.

Grasping the riverside railing, dozens of people staggered, crawled, and walked through the smoke, with no idea where they were or where they were going, other than away. When the smoke began to lift, I found I was in Battery Park.  Bloody, battered, ripped and torn, eventually I made my way back to the newsroom.  Read more

Tom Brokaw Reports on 9/11 Anniversary for ‘Dateline’

On NBC’s “Dateline” tonight, former “NBC Nightly News” anchor Tom Brokaw will anchor a two-hour report on the anniversary of 9/11. The special will take “viewers back to some of the most powerful stories reported by NBC News in the days and months following the tragic assault on our nation.”

Brokaw appeared on “The Colbert Report” last night, where he talked about where he was when the attacks first occurred, and what he did that day:

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TV News Reflects on 9/11/2001: CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, NBC’s Anne Thompson

With the 10th anniversary of the 9/11/2001 terrorist attacks approaching, TVNewser reached out to anchors, reporters, producers and executives for their thoughts on that day, and what they believe has changed in the last 10 years.

CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer, who told TVNewser that he rushed to work after it became apparent that the attacks were a major story:

I ran upstairs and started packing a bag, because I figured I am on my way to New York. I ran out of the house, started driving and talking to producers, saying I am going to run over to the shuttle and get up to New York. As I am doing that, and I am already in the car, we hear about the Pentagon.

I am a former Pentagon correspondent, so I drove right over to the CNN bureau, which was easier said than done because the traffic was crazy. It took forever, at one point I was just going to leave my car and start running over to the CNN bureau. I did manage to get through some back streets and find my way over to North Capital, and eventually I got here and got on the air. We started working nonstop. We didn’t really understand the enormity of it until later, but it was pretty scary, forget about being a journalist, just being a person.

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TV News Reflects on 9/11/2001: HLN’s Jane Velez-Mitchell, CNBC’s Joe Kernen and Sue Herera

With the 10th anniversary of the 9/11/2001 terrorist attacks approaching, TVNewser reached out to anchors, reporters, producers and executives for their thoughts on that day, and what they believe has changed in the last 10 years.

HLN’s Jane Velez-Mitchell:

I was in Los Angeles, asleep, when the phone rang. My mom, who lives in midtown Manhattan, said simply “Turn on the TV.” Trying to process the unthinkable, I raced to my TV station, based at Paramount Studios in Hollywood. The contrast was surreal. Here I was, in the very heart of make believe, while a real horror that defied all imagination, unfolded on the other side of the nation. We were preempted by CNN but put on “standby.” I sat at the anchor desk, feeling helpless and frantic over the fate of relatives, friends and total strangers. I will never forget that sickening feeling of being unable to do a thing as I silently observed people plummeting from high floors to their deaths.

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TV News Reflects On 9/11/2001: NBC’s Lester Holt, CNN en Espanol’s Juan Carlos Lopez

With the 10th anniversary of the 9/11/2001 terrorist attacks approaching, TVNewser reached out to anchors, reporters, producers and executives for their thoughts on that day, and what they believe has changed in the last 10 years.

NBC News anchor and correspondent Lester Holt, who was anchoring on MSNBC:

As I was anchoring MSNBC coverage, my attention was split between throwing to live shots, and desperately trying to email and telephone my wife to make sure the kids were ok. They attended school in the West Village and Soho respectively and ultimately looked back to see one of the towers crumble as my wife escorted them up 6th Avenue. I saved emails from that day, including one in which I write to a friend saying it’s “the biggest news story of my career” and yet what I really want to do “is go home and be with my family.” It wasn’t an option because you couldn’t get to Manhattan from our New Jersey studios at the time. Would I have really left given the chance? It’s hard to put one’s self back in that space to really ever know. But I think about it.

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