September 6, 2011

Although the staff of The Wall Street Journal went to extraordinary lengths to cover the attack on the World Trade Center and produce a newspaper after its building had been evacuated, few of those newspapers made it into Manhattan the next day. A delivery truck carrying 60,000 copies was stopped in a roadblock at the George Washington Bridge.

Roy Harris Jr. received his copy at his home near Boston, however, and took it to New York on a previously scheduled trip. He describes the reaction in Manhattan:

Early on Sept. 12, with my home-delivered Wall Street Journal sitting on the passenger seat, I drove south to New York from Hingham, Mass., to meet my stepson Jesse. A native New Yorker studying at the University of Chicago, he was at the end of a summer break spent in Midtown, where his bedroom had a southern view of the twin towers — and their heartbreaking destruction the day before.

Around noon I arrived in New York, in time to join the first wave of cars crossing the reopened Triborough Bridge. Heading south along FDR Drive, I tried to keep my gaze off the sickening brown cloud at the tip of the island.

As I walked the four blocks to Jesse’s apartment, the paper under my arm, a dozen people approached me with versions of the same two-part question: “Where did you get your Wall Street Journal? May I have a look?”

And after a glance at the front page, several added a third part: “How did they ever manage to get a paper out?”

In his story, Harris describes how strong leadership and a couple of key decisions resulted in the Pulitzer-winning edition on Sept. 12, 2001.

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Steve Myers was the managing editor of Poynter.org until August 2012, when he became the deputy managing editor and senior staff writer for The Lens,…
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