Every network began live coverage before the moment of silence at 8:46 ET followed by the traditional reading of the 2,977 names as a reminder of those who were lost on that fateful day. It’s also refreshing to see because you know, at least in NYC, this is truly a land that has not forgotten.
However, if you live in any other media market, you may catch a glimpse of some people holding each other, crying as they place a rose on the name of their loved one, and a few ringing of the firefighter’s bells. And then a recap at 5, 6, and 10 p.m.
And that’s about it. This is 14 years later, so it begs the question: Has the media forgotten?
For starters, listen to your local newscast and the story of how many towers fell on 9/11. Two, right? Wrong. More like seven because of the tumult on the ground. Every building in the WTC complex were destroyed. 110-story WTC 1 and 2, and 47-story WTC 7 were leveled, and WTC 3, 4, 5, and 6 were severely damaged, with large portions of WTC 3, 4, and 6 being crushed.
Next, look at your major dailies, specifically the front page. Do you see the worst disaster to hit our native land or something about local business and the goings-on at City Hall? More of the latter because many publishers believe it’s time to move on. Also, memoirs don’t sell newspapers.
Finally, ask around the office. What are people saying? Do you see them thinking? Or, are they just working ferociously in their cube looking to pitch a cool widget on this day, because surely the media in New York can’t wait to hear from your client today.
None of us like to be reminded of tragedy — personally, publicly, or otherwise. However, a day like this can force us all to be mindful of what we appreciate about PR and the media. Listen to the feel-good stories, the follow-ups of survival, and even the touch base notes on what happened in 2001.
Our job is to help spread stories of hope, as well as widgets. Their job is to share those stories and keep us all united. We all have a job to do but days like this, it’s okay to do the job with a little less fervor, sit back and watch the news.