September 9, 2011

An unprecedented story unfolds

In response to the dawning horror of a terrorist attack on U.S. soil, The Portland Press Herald hastily assembles an eight-page afternoon edition with the banner headline: 'UNDER ATTACK.'

By Ann S. Kim akim@mainetoday.com
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 1)

click image to enlarge

In the days after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, The Portland Press Herald sent columnist Bill Nemitz and photographer Gregory Rec to New York to report from the scene. This is one of the photos from that report: A performance artist portrays the Statue of Liberty in Union Square in Manhattan.

click image to enlarge

In the days after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, The Portland Press Herald sent columnist Bill Nemitz and photographer Gregory Rec to New York to report from the scene. This is one of the photos from that report: Frances Ortega of the Bronx hugs her daughter Quasha at the start of the "Prayer for America" ceremony at Yankee Stadium in New York on Sunday, Sept. 23, 2001.

Additional Photos Below

Back to "Remembering 9/11"  special section

Jansen was able to interview lawmakers outside and called in some quotes to the newspaper for the special edition. He continued reporting for an article in Wednesday's paper, while the sonic booms of jet fighters sparked rumors of car bombs exploding around the district. He scratched out his notes on napkins at a pizzeria, where he first saw images of the towers collapsing.

"That made me feel physically ill," said Jansen, a native New Yorker. "I had been to the top of the one building, I brought friends up there because I thought it was a better view than the Empire State Building. Being at the top was always unnerving because it swayed. Thinking about being on top of that building and having it collapse beneath you was really upsetting."

Cellphones weren't working anymore. But he met a woman in a "What Would Joan Jett Do?" T-shirt at the pizzeria and she brought him to a nearby Christian dormitory, where the headmistress allowed him to call the paper on a landline phone.

The newspaper continued to report on the attacks and their aftermath. The paper published articles about the victims of the attacks, the interfaith efforts that followed, stepped-up security measures, the economic impact and other ways the attacks reshaped the world. Nemitz and photographer Gregory Rec traveled to New York, where they spent a week providing accounts to the paper.

Within days of the attacks, it became clear that Mohamed Atta and Abdulaziz Alomari had been in Greater Portland. The two had slept in a South Portland motel before flying to Boston from the Portland International Jetport on the day of the attacks.

Michael Chitwood, Portland's police chief at the time, released an image of surveillance video that showed the men rushing through airport security. For most Mainers, that was likely the iconic image of the attacks, said then-Editor Jeannine Guttman.

The revelation of their presence made the story of 9/11 even more of a community-based story, she said.

"The newspaper and the newsroom felt a really strong public-service duty to report the story as quickly as possible even as it was developing," she said.

Staff Writer Ann S. Kim can be contacted at 791-6383 or at:

akim@pressherald.com
 

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Additional Photos

click image to enlarge

In the days after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, The Portland Press Herald sent columnist Bill Nemitz and photographer Gregory Rec to New York to report from the scene. This is one of the photos from that report: The wreckage of the World Trade Center can be seen from the intersection of Fulton Street and Broadway in the days after the terrorist attacks.

  


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