A national survey conducted in late 2001 determined that 67% of respondents stated that newspapers had been a “useful source” for information on September 11 (Stempel and Hargrove 55). Additionally, the use of daily newspapers had increased from 55% to 61% among respondents following the events.
Yesterday, on 9/11/19, I purchased both The Boston Globe and The New York Times newspapers again to study how the 9/11 narrative was told this year. Since 2002, I have analyzed each anniversary edition of both, The Boston Globe and The New York Times to understand how media may shape our memory and viewpoint. The above video intends for you to explore newspaper representation of 9/11/01, aiming to be conscious of your reactions to the presented facts and connections to your individual memory.
You may have noticed that I have used several ways to refer to 11 September 2001 already. This is intentional. The media has used various words and phrases to refer to that day in history. Some of them became a standard reference while others faded away. The above video may make you realize why you use some terms more than others.
I live in Boston, where the two planes that were flown into the World Trade Center originated. I have my own personal memories of that day—where I was and what I was doing. Over the years, I have made additional memories related to that day by speaking with people who lost loved ones. However, all these personal memories have been framed within the larger social frame. Jeffrey Orlick summarized Maurice Halbwachs—the late French philosopher and sociologist—explaining that while
memory is carried largely by individuals (…), even the most primally individual memories are socially framed and that, thus, at the limit, the very distinction between individual and social memory is problematic and that memory is no mere byproduct of group existence but is its very lifeblood. (6)
The memory of 9/11/01 is part of the United States of America’s lifeblood, and newspapers (as just one example of media) have framed, told, and continue to showcase part of this country’s narrative in regards to this moment in its history. Ask yourself, how similar is your recollection of happenings and story angles to that presented in the newspapers?
Monahan, Brian A. The Shock of the News—Media Coverage and the Making of 9/11. New York: New York University Press, 2010.
Orlick J (2007) The Politics of Regret – On Collective Memory and Historical Responsibility. New York: Routledge.
September 11, 2001 - A Collection of Newspaper Front Pages Selected by the Poynter Institute. Kansas City: Andrews McMell Publishing, 2001.
Stempel III, Guido H. and Thomas Hargrove. “Newspapers Played Major Role in Terrorism Coverage.” Newspaper Research Journal. Vol. 25, Nr. 1, Winter 2003.
The Boston Globe. 12 September 2001 1st ed.: A1. Print.
---. 11 September 2002 1st ed.: A1. Print.
---. 11 September 2003 1st ed.: A1. Print.
---. 11 September 2006 1st ed.: A1. Print.
---. 11 September 2008 1st ed.: A1. Print.
---. 11 September 2009 1st ed.: A1. Print.
---. 11 September 2011 1st ed.: A1. Print.
---. 11 September 2012 1st ed.: A1. Print.
---. 11 September 2018 1st ed.: A1. Print.
The New York Times. 12 September 2001 late ed.: A1. Print.
---. 11 September 2002 late ed.: A1. Print.
---. 11 September 2003 late ed.: A1. Print.
---. 11 September 2004 late ed.: A1. Print.
---. 11 September 2005 late ed.: A1. Print.
---. 11 September 2006 New England ed.: A1. Print.
---. 11 September 2008 New England ed.: A1. Print.
---. 11 September 2009 New England ed.: A1. Print.
---. 11 September 2010 late ed.: A1. Print.
---. 11 September 2011 New England ed.: A1. Print.
---. 11 September 2012 New England ed.: A1-A3, A17. Print.
---. 11 September 2018 New England ed.: A1. Print.
Zwicker, Barry. Towers of Deception – The Media Cover-up of 9/11. Canada: New Society Publishers, 2006.