I was NYC Bureau Chief for AP TV on that fateful morning. it was a typical clear Tuesday so I didn’t know the world would change.
At The Associated Press, I learned how a global news organization is capable of sustaining a collective body blow, setting aside massive trauma, and responding, so this was a life lesson for me as a manager. As an American, a journalist, and an educator, it is difficult to fathom saying we are together just like we were 2 decades ago. The challenge for all political, educational, news, and religious leaders is to rediscover the ideas that founded and keep this great Republic.
We, humans, are creatures of habit, so I religiously watched NBC, which was my alma mater for nearly a decade. I could really say I was actually listening to TODAY, which aired as I was getting ready for work.
The show started with some talk about Michael Jordan's third comeback, Ann Curry anchored her news segments announcing the US lost another spy plane over Iraq. Then weatherman Al Roker warned viewers about hurricanes...etc.
Matta and Katie interviewed Jack Welch and then Harry Belafonte after throwing to a commercial break—. And then, at 8:46, a News Special Report raw video raced across the screen, and all hell broke loose. 8:46:40: Flight 11 crashes at roughly 466 mph (790 km/h or 219 m/s or 425 knots) into the north face of the North Tower (1 WTC) of the World Trade Center, between floors 93 and 99. The aircraft enters the tower intact. It plows to the building's core, severing all three gypsum-encased stairwells, dragging combustibles with it. A powerful shock wave travels down to the ground and up again.
In the file video of the broadcast, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=89G749GrtBQ just before the voice of the eyewitness comes on, there’s a flash of what appears to be a commercial—a flick of the wrong switch, a momentary mistake in a television control room that must surely have descended into bedlam. In truth, despite the graphics, the special events team had not yet arrived. NBC News 9-11-2001 Live Coverage (Complete Today Show)
From Tuesday, September 11th, 2001, The complete TODAY show program with no affiliate network news - Coverage runs from 7:00 A.M E.D.T - 1:00 P.M E.D.T - In memory of the 2,974 victims killed that day Timeline of events of the first 2 hours ( ALL Times Eastern) @1:46:32/ 8:46:32 AM - American Airlines Flight 11 crashed into the World Trade Center's North ...
Then, the three amigos, Tom, Peter, and Dan took their anchor seats and went on for hours.
Their task was to craft it all into a story to tell American viewers, in real-time, and they would go on to do it for hours straight. No commercials, and, almost no breaks. The director of a live news program’s job is to place the technical pieces of the puzzle soundbites, video on the right tracks at the right time to make a story and a picture, all on the fly. AP provided up-to-the-minute news content for all three networks and hundreds of others worldwide.
On September 11, 2001, this job took on a profound moral and worldwide-historical significance. It also involved a level of sensory overload, in terms of the sheer volume of previously inconceivable material coming in, that likely has not been seen before or since. On this eve of 9/11 a special and solemn day of remembrance, a light shines up to the heavens. We'll #NeverForget
AP PHOTOS: 20 images that documented the enormity of 9/11
Today, POTUS 43 George W Bush a Republican compared January 6 insurrectionists to the 9/11 terrorist hijackers:”in determination to defile our national symbols they are children of the same foul spirit and it is our duty to confront them.”
20 years later, I agree after taking early retirement from The AP and now working for Imaginus and teaching digital media.