9/11 anniversary forgotten on the front page of today’s New York Times

How do you mark the 11th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks? For some papers in the cities where the attacks took place, the answer is subtle: It’s time to move on. At The New York Times and the New York Post, Sept. 11, 2012, is just another day. Both papers ignored the anniversary entirely on their front pages. New York Times Public Editor Margaret Sullivan wrote in a blog post Tuesday, “The pain, the outrage, the loss – these never fade. The amount of journalism, however, must.” Sullivan spoke with two Times editors who noted the difficulty of “anniversary journalism.” (Sullivan will be participating in a live chat on this topic today at 2:30 ET. You can join the chat below or here.)

“You look for an angle that has news value,” Deputy Metropolitan Editor Wendell Jamieson told her, “and you ask can we mark this day in a creative, exciting and journalistically meaningful way.”

In an appearance on “Morning Joe” last month, New York Times editor Jill Abramson acknowledged that the Times is “less of a New York paper than it was when I was growing up here and addicted to reading it.”

She said at the time:

New York is still part of our DNA and important to the soul of the publication, but the actual metro area has, over time, been not the main part of our print readership. And online it’s more of an international and national audience.

The Times did link to a 9/11 story on its homepage early Tuesday morning and then featured a remembrance more prominently a bit later.

At other New York papers, Citi provides The Wall Street Journal’s front-page coverage, with an ad. And the Daily News blows out its front with a rendering of One World Trade Center, still under construction.

Long Island’s Newsday and the Newark, N.J., Star-Ledger also serve readerships that were heavily affected by the attacks; both turn their fronts over to 9/11 coverage. The Washington Post runs only a small photo of a smoking World Trade Center, and nothing from the nearby Pentagon, on the bottom left of its front page. And the Somerset, Pa., Daily American, which serves the area where Flight 93 went down, fronts two photos of remembrances at the memorial in Shanksville, Pa.

A selection of today’s front pages is below. || Poll: Is it time to move 9/11 off front pages? || Related: 11 years later, the most striking front pages since 9/11 | Front pages from 2001 to 2011 tell story of 9/11 decade | The 25 most moving 9/11/11 front pages | 10 iconic images from Sept. 11, 2001 | Why do newspapers use different figures for fatalities of Sept. 11 attacks? | How we started calling the former World Trade Center ‘ground zero’ | Sept. 11 style guidelines from AP

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Front page appears courtesy of the Newseum
Front page appears courtesy of the Newseum
Front page appears courtesy of the Newseum
Front page appears courtesy of the Newseum
Front page appears courtesy of the Newseum
Front page appears courtesy of the Newseum
Front page appears courtesy of the Newseum
Front page appears courtesy of the Newseum
Front page appears courtesy of the Newseum
Front page appears courtesy of the Newseum
Front page appears courtesy of the Newseum
Front page appears courtesy of the Newseum
Front page appears courtesy of the Newseum
Front page appears courtesy of the Newseum
Front page appears courtesy of the Newseum
Front page appears courtesy of the Newseum
Front page appears courtesy of the Newseum
Front page appears courtesy of the Newseum



Join New York Times Public Editor Margaret Sullivan and Charles Apple at 2:30 ET today for a discussion of the role of today’s front pages.

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  • http://twitter.com/FunnyFaceKing TheKingofFunnyFaces

    Something that happened eleven years ago is not “news.” Newspapers are not in the business of making news, they are in the business of reporting it.

    How come nobody wrote any articles about how the New York Times had a very large portion of the front page above the fold dedicated to the remembrances that real news makers performed the day before?

    The New York Post and the Daily News had nothing at all about it.

  • http://twitter.com/Redmastif Nick Doherty

    So the Times didn’t run a front page story of a anniversary. Are we all going to now spontaneously combust? Are the terrorists going to attack America again because of a non-existing headline on ONE NEWSPAPER? No. Obviously not. Stop overreacting to nothing and stop posting bullsh!t articles that in no way help anybody.

  • http://www.facebook.com/TheGadfly Greg Doyle
  • http://www.facebook.com/stevemullis Steve Mullis

    As an aside, Home News Tribune has a picture of Novak Djokovic next to an Andy Murray winning US Open headline. D’oh!

  • http://www.facebook.com/stevemullis Steve Mullis

    As an aside, Home News Tribune has a picture of Novak Djokovic next to an Andy Murray winning US Open headline. D’oh!

  • Anonymous

    John Carroll of Boston University has a media blog, and it featured the front pages of the two Boston papers: http://itsgoodtoliveinatwopapertown.com/2012/09/11/911-front-pages/

  • http://www.facebook.com/Memekiller Dylan Otto Krider

    It’s not that we remember. It’s that we never admit a good many of us saw 911 as the day the nation came apart. A time that should have unified was cynically exploited for partisan politics. All the Democrats, Republicans and other who died were exploited to attack liberals, question patriotism and divide. Most would probably be turning over in their graves to be used so.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Memekiller Dylan Otto Krider

    It’s not that we remember. It’s that we never admit a good many of us saw 911 as the day the nation came apart. A time that should have unified was cynically exploited for partisan politics. All the Democrats, Republicans and other who died were exploited to attack liberals, question patriotism and divide. Most would probably be turning over in their graves to be used so.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/6MUTDWY32H7HZVFKVPB7OOWS3A Melizabeth

    it’ll never be time to move 9-11 off front page news. we will never forget

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/6MUTDWY32H7HZVFKVPB7OOWS3A Melizabeth

    it’ll never be time to move 9-11 off front page news. we will never forget

  • Bart Pollock

    I was surprised to find no story about the 911 anniversary on the front page of The Washington Post this morning. I suppose after that I should not have been surprised to learn that the anniversary was left off the front page of the New York Times also, but I was. Personally, I’m not ready to “move on.” Maybe I will feel different after all our young men and women in the military are no longer in harm’s way in Afghanistan and Iraq.

  • http://www.poynter.org Poynter

    Hi Michael,

    Thanks for your comment. I’m sorry you see the criticism as finger-wagging. That’s not our intention.

    Often, when we critique a news organization or journalist, we take two approaches: 1.) We use it as an opportunity to show what could have been done differently (See this example: http://journ.us/x0s5bX ) or 2.) Give the news organization/journalist we’re criticizing a chance to respond. Today, for instance, we asked Margaret Sullivan if she would do a live chat with us today about the Times’ decision so that we could learn more from her, and so our readers could have a chance to ask her questions. She agreed and will be chatting with us at 2:30 p.m. ET today. Our goal is to try to move the conversation about media news forward; not point fingers for the sake of pointing fingers.

    It helps to hear from readers like you, so that we can think about how we frame our critiques and how they come across to our readers.

    ~Mallary Tenore

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=656715835 Andrew Beaujon

    Thanks for noticing the botched appositive. I, a former copy editor, wish I’d noticed that comma’s omission.

  • http://www.facebook.com/andrew.andreeff.73 Andrew Andreeff

    According to the official version nineteen Arabs stole 4 planes, ran on two of them into towers of the World Shopping Center that became a cause of the fire inside, and ran on the third into the Pentagon.
    But terrorists weren’t the Arabs, three of four planes were changed, and Bashni Bliznetsy didn’t fall as a result of blow of planes and fires. The most probable explanation of their collapse consists that explosive which was blown up respectively in 56 and 104 minutes after blow of planes was placed with bearing structural elements of towers at many levels, having destroyed towers as a result of operated explosion, having killed some thousand citizens of America and other countries. http://www.law-us.blogspot.com/

  • http://www.facebook.com/lindenbergerconfidential Michael Lindenberger

    I didn’t miss the coverage on the front page, and yet I am sure that some of the other papers that found a good angle to put there did fine jobs.

    I think David is right: This is a trivial concern for Poynter.

    My own concern is with Poynter’s continued finger-wagging, scolding tone, something that has developed in the past couple years. It’s one thing to raise the question, to note that the Times went another direction on their front page. It’s a smart discussion-starter, a valuable observation.

    But why do you feel you must opine about the merit of the decision? It always seems to me that Poynter comes out of these dust-ups looking smaller for having presumed to be the authority on things — say, front page placement on the NY Times — about which is much less qualified than the people it is criticizing (say, the NY Times.)

    I am not opposed to opinions, to critiques or suggestions or even condemnations. The Times makes lots of mistakes. But the threshold for the finger-wagging at Poynter seems to be so low these days.

  • http://www.poynter.org Poynter

    Roy, Good context on the meaning of “forgotten” when talking about tragedies. Thanks for adding that. Always happy to disagree with you (privately or publicly), Julie

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Roy-Peter-Clark/100000896693218 Roy Peter Clark

    I will take the unusual step of offering a public critique of my Poynter colleagues. I agree that some recognition of the 9/11 anniversary on page one of the NYTimes would have been fitting and proper. What I find unfair is the word “forgotten” in the headline. It’s clear from the article that the anniversary was not forgotten, but that a news judgment was made to cover the anniversary in a different way. The word “forget” is very important in catastrophes, wars, and genocides, and it’s use in this context is unfair to the good men and women at the Times.

  • Anonymous

    It’s a good thing, the appositive comma, often neglected on Poynter.

    So it should be: “For some papers in the cities where the attacks took place, the answer is subtle: It’s time to move on. At The New York Times and the New York Post, Sept. 11, 2012, is just another day.”

    That’s a comma after Sept. 11, and another comma after 2012. Poynter often leaves out that very same comma when it says that news happened in Albuquerque, New Mexico when it means that Albuquerque, New Mexico, was the site.

    P.S. I was in Lower Manhattan that day 11 years ago, so, yes, you can probably count me as one in favor of moving on. Besides, the Times has done here what it typically does: to cover anniversary stories with series stories in the days leading up to the date, getting ahead of the news, not on the date itself.

  • http://www.poynter.org Poynter

    Thanks, Keith. Your comment reminds me of something. Last month, Jill Abramson talked about the paper being ” less of a New York paper than it was when I was growing up here “: http://journ.us/OWC9bR Perhaps that is related, I don’t know. –Julie

  • http://www.mediawhiz.com/ Keith Trivitt

    I have to agree with you, Julie. It’s sad and terribly disrespectful to the victims, thier families and all New Yorkers who were affected that day, in my opinion, for The New York Times not to have bothered to cover the anniversary on its front page today. I understand maybe not covering it in the National edition (though even that would be a stretch) but the NYT has a “Late Edition” for a reason: it is supposed to be the last print run that is edited specifically for the New York metro region.

    I remember reading a while back that after the Wall Street Journal started its Greater New York section, The Times was touting that it had started to place more local stories on its front page. It has one today, about the effects of global warming on NYC’s coasts (though one could argue that is hardly a timely news hook). If that is the case, I’m not buying The Times’ explanation for why it decided not to run a front-page story on 9/11 today. Simply saying they didn’t see a unique or “creative” angle to a story of this magnitude, even 11 years later, is not only a disservice to its readers, as you rightly point out, but it is incredibly disrespectful to the victims and their families.

  • http://www.mediawhiz.com/ Keith Trivitt

    I have to agree with you, Julie. It’s sad and terribly disrespectful to the victims, thier families and all New Yorkers who were affected that day, in my opinion, for The New York Times not to have bothered to cover the anniversary on its front page today. I understand maybe not covering it in the National edition (though even that would be a stretch) but the NYT has a “Late Edition” for a reason: it is supposed to be the last print run that is edited specifically for the New York metro region.

    I remember reading a while back that after the Wall Street Journal started its Greater New York section, The Times was touting that it had started to place more local stories on its front page. It has one today, about the effects of global warming on NYC’s coasts (though one could argue that is hardly a timely news hook). If that is the case, I’m not buying The Times’ explanation for why it decided not to run a front-page story on 9/11 today. Simply saying they didn’t see a unique or “creative” angle to a story of this magnitude, even 11 years later, is not only a disservice to its readers, as you rightly point out, but it is incredibly disrespectful to the victims and their families.

  • http://www.poynter.org Poynter

    David, The Times coverage only confirms there are plenty of stories worth telling and drawing readers’ attention to related to life since the 9/11 attacks. Surely one of them could have warranted a mention — even a refer — on today’s front page. In New York City, 9/11 is a more present and living reality than the country’s more distant history.

    Thank you for asking these questions. You’ve made me think this is a subject worthy of a live chat later today, so we’ll be having one at 2:30 p.m. I hope you join us.

    Julie

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for responding, Julie.

    Yes, NYT journalists “could have found a news angle” to rationalize Page One placement, Of course, ginning up angles often leads to bad journalism. And it often diverts resources from important but untold stories, especially in this era of shriveled reporting and editing staffs.

    A check of the NYTimes.com search engine shows hundreds of articles in the last seven days that focus on, mention or cite 9/11, including Kurt Eichenwald’s op-ed that breaks news about the events leading up to the attack.
    So there is no lack of coverage, only an issue of placement, which I still think is a trivial concern compared to the journalism issues Poynter could focus on.
    And why no response on the NYPost, which Poynter thought worthy of criticism for not turning its tabloid cover over to this hoary news.
    And what of the much more significant events — Emancipation Proclamation and Constitution’s adoption — that go unmentioned? What makes 9/11 more significant than these seminal events? If Poynter is going to criticize print journalists for not giving 9/11 front page attention, how can it fail to criticize the lack of coverage on any page of these much more significant events, which affect the lives of every single American every day?

  • http://www.poynter.org Poynter

    Hi, David. The New York Times has thousands of readers who remain directly affected by these events and for whom this day unfortunately and inevitably reminds them of the trauma. I believe it is a disservice to those readers and others to ignore that reality on the the front page as well as on the homepage, though the Times does now have a story up online. And I believe the very creative and talented journalists at the Times could have found a news angle, as they do regularly on challenging but important topics. –Julie Moos, Director of Poynter Online

  • Anonymous

    What a curious criticism, but then maybe Poynter favors OLDSpapers over NEWSpapers.

    Where was Poynter’s critique on New Year’s Day when, yet again, newspapers failed to memorialize the 1863 Emancipation Proclamation? Or June 21, the date when the Second American Republic began because the 9th state ratified the Constitution?

    And what about the consistent failure of newspapers to take note each Oct. 8 of the 2,500 people killed in the 1871 Peshtigo fire in Wisconsin, while now and then giving more attention to the old news that hundreds died the same day in a Chicago fire with its fictive journalistic tale of Mrs. O’Leary’s cow?

    Just what standard of journalism is Poynter addressing here? And just how would readers of the NYT and NYPost be better served by front page placement of a 9/11 story eleven years after that awful murderous act?

    Just what do Poynter’s media critics believe is new, and significant, that it deserves front page treatment?

    That is not a rhetorical question — Andrew Beaujon and Julie Moos owe it to their readers to explain their reasoning for choosing this issue, a triviality in my view, when there are so many other pressing journalism issues that Poynter could focus on.