New York, Sept. 5, 2006--"It's horrible what you're seeing unfolding, but part of this job is being an eyewitness to history." So said AP video journalist Bill Gorman about shooting news video of the attack on the Pentagon for The Associated Press on Sept. 11, 2001.
Gorman and other AP journalists were interviewed for a special exhibit commemorating the fifth anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and on an airplane over Pennsylvania. In addition to being on display at various journalistic conferences and schools around the U.S., the exhibit is available to the public online at www.ap.org/911.
Along with a 10-minute video, the exhibit features photographs taken the day of the attacks, side-by-side with images of the same sites taken in June 2006. Now retired, former AP senior staff photographer Marty Lederhandler spoke of going back to the top of the General Electric building from which he photographed the World Trade Center towers after the initial attack. "It's a strange feeling. You look at one picture with the building, and the current picture, no buildings. Just an emptiness in the sky."
The then-and-now images juxtapose the horror of the 2001 attacks with the hope of normalcy in 2006. "It's remarkable to me how much change the city has made down there at Ground Zero in terms of recovery," said AP staff photographer Mark Lennihan. The exhibit pays tribute to the dedication and courage of all journalists who face challenges and risks doing their jobs.
"We're first responders, like police and fire and ambulance people are to disasters. Whenever it happens, you're a photographer and you have to capture the scene," said AP Staff Photographer Richard Drew. Drew also discusses his renowned "Falling Man" photograph, taken of a World Trade Center victim who dropped from the side of the building before it collapsed.
Other scenes in the exhibit include dust-covered New Yorkers walking in the city after the towers collapsed, alongside smiling faces on the same street in 2006; firefighters in front of the remains of the towers next to an image of construction on the site this year; and the Pentagon with a gaping hole six days after it was struck, and today, appearing as if the attack had never occurred.
In the video, AP's Managing Editor Mike Silverman sums up AP's efforts on Sept. 11, 2001, "We did the very best job we could in pulling together all the different elements of the story, the different formats and the different angles from all over the world. And we try to do that every day."
The online exhibit also includes:
AP Log: Amid the chaos and confusion of Sept. 11, 2001, broadcasters, newspapers and Web sites the world over relied on AP for accurate accounts and aggressive updates.
9-11-01 News Flashes and Alerts: By day's end, AP had filed an unprecedented 25 NewsAlerts, 18 bulletins, two Flashes and nearly 1,000 pictures. AP copy was quoted by broadcasters in every time zone, on every continent.
2006--Coverage Continues: AP's coverage of the five year anniversary of 9-11 will be available on member web sites. Highlights of the coverage will be posted on exhibit web site as they become available.
Copies of the physical exhibit, with photographic banners and video, will be on display at professional journalism conferences and journalism schools throughout the fall. Between September 7 and September 11, the exhibit will be shown at:
-- The National Press Club in Washington, DC, in conjunction with the release of a report by Marvin Kalb about historical perspectives on the 9-11 attack.
-- Dole Institute of Politics at Kansas University in Lawrence, Kansas.
-- University of Arkansas in Fort Smith, Arkansas.