Sept. 11, 2001, is the only day I?ve ever seen an entire room of hardened news veterans cry at least once. I was working as a video editor for Fox 13 news in Salt Lake City at the time. Like much of the west, I was asleep when the first plane hit. My mother called and woke me up.
?Do you know what?s going on right now?!? she exclaimed. It was a question that ran through my head for the rest of the day. What the hell IS going on???
I didn?t need to call the station to see if I should come in, I just drove right over. Editors, producers, reporters and photographers were scurrying around to gather information. Even as far away as Utah, the attacks wove a blanket of terror. People all over the state stopped what they were doing to gather around televisions at work, restaurants, salons, anywhere. They made frantic phone calls to loved ones in the Big Apple but had a hard time getting through. Flights were grounded, turning the Salt Lake City airport into a temporary hotel for hundreds of passengers. And, because of all this our news station was a beehive of activity.
Video kept pouring in from the national feeds, each tape was even more chilling than the last. There were many things we simply couldn?t air because of the sheer gore and terror of it; it would?ve been too much for the majority of viewers to handle. There was so much happening and it kept everyone busy, which was good, because if you stopped - even for just two seconds - to think about what you were seeing the misery would weigh you down so much it would be hard to continue working. I edited most of my video with my eyes blurred with tears.
At the end of our 10 p.m. newscast, after the anchors turned it back over to the national networks, and our day was - technically - over, the last 12 hours or so finally caught up to many people and that is when they broke down and cried.
As members of the media we are exposed to a myriad of stories and cases on a daily basis that highlight the depravity of humans. We learn to maintain our composure while reporting on even the most tragic events, but the terror attacks were more than just tragedy, they were evil. And they tested the stamina of every journalist who was able to forge through their work in the weeks to come when the natural reaction was to break down and cry.