This week, to commemorate the 13th anniversary of September 11, Esquire has put an expanded version of its National Magazine Award nominated feature “The Falling Man” behind a paywall and plans to donate all resulting revenue to a scholarship fund set up in honor of James Foley, the American journalist executed by ISIS terrorists last month.
Written by Tom Junod, “The Falling Man” first appeared in the September 2003 issue of Esquire. It tells the story behind AP photographer Richard Drew’s now-iconic photo of a man jumping from the North Tower of the World Trade Center during the 9/11 attacks. Since it was published 11 years ago, the story has been read by nearly 20 million people, according to the magazine, and was adapted into a documentary film.
The expanded version of the feature now on Esquire.com features a new introduction by Junod that connects the story of “The Falling Man” with the recent beheadings of Foley and fellow journalist Steven Sotloff. Readers are being asked to give a suggested (but entirely optional) donation of $2.99 before reading the article.
“[‘The Falling Man’] came immediately to mind when photos and video of James Foley’s beheading by ISIS began circling the globe, followed two weeks later by the devastating video of Steven Sotloff’s murder,” Esquire editor in chief David Granger wrote on the site. “We wondered whether there was something we could do to honor their courage as journalists. And that’s when we came back to those 20 million readers.”
Esquire aims to raise $200,000 through sales of the story, enough to cover a four-year scholarship to Foley’s alma mater, Marquette University’s Diederich College of Communication.
Last year, Esquire began experimenting with paid digital content when it put one of its magazine stories—“The Prophet,” a feature from its August 2013 issue about a neurosurgeon who claimed to have seen God—behind a paywall. Readers were required to pay $1.99 to access the nearly 10,000 word article.