6B - The Michigan Daily - Monday, September 17, 2001
SEPTEMBER 11, 2001
Networks end round-the-clock coverage
For journalist in New York,
this story really hits home
BETH NISSEN CoL U MN
NEW YORK (AP) - Aftef four days with round-
the-clock coverage of the suicide attacks, broadcast
networks resumed entertainment programmingalt
and commercials - on Saturday.
CBS' first prime-time entertainment show since
the World Trade Center was toppled was "Touched
By an Angel."
With a somber tone, networks covered live a
prayer service at the National Cathedral on Friday.
The news media also received a request for greater
care about accuracy Friday from New York Mayor
Broadcasters will ease back into entertainment
with lighter, inoffensive fare. NBC scheduled the
"Brady Bunch" movie for Saturday night, and ABC
will have the Sandra Bullock romantic comedy,
Fox aired a two-hour "America's Most Wanted"
focusing on the attacks Saturday, and the comedy
"Mrs. Doubtfire" yesterday. Fox had scuttled plans
yesterday to show the movie, "Independence Day,"
where aliens blow up the Empire State Building.
Next week's planned premiere of a new television
season has been pushed back a week.
Sometime during the day Saturday, broadcasters
carried their first commercials since the attack cover-
age began on Tuesday.
Network executives were reluctant to talk Friday
about how many millions of dollars in advertising
revenue was lost, saying they hadn't added it up.
Some executives suggested privately that they'll
eventually get those advertising dollars. Even if net-
works wanted to run commercials during the attack
coverage, few advertisers were interested in being a
part of it.
Advertising should get back to normal "within a
short period of time," said Mark Morris, chairman of
the advertising firm Bates North America. "Normal-
cy is important for companies and for the economy."
New commercials will probably be more sober, at
least for a while, Morris said.
"I am certain things will tone down in a way, par-
ticularly the aggressive comipetition with other orga-
nizations," lhe said. "''his is a time to pull together,
not necessarily to denigrate others."
Giuliani, in a briefing Friday, asked the news
media to be more careful reporting about the World
Trade Center rescue operation. He said false infor-
mation "can be very dangerous and emotionally
He cited false reports that a potential survivor had
been in contact with people by cell phone, and that
10 or 15 people were trapped alive in a store.
Media outlets reported Thursday that five firefight-
ers trapped since Tuesday had been rescued from the
trade center rubble. It later turned out that only two
who were trapped in an air pocket for several hours
Thursday were found alive.
Not only does false information play with the
emotions of people with missing friends and rela-
tives, it can send rescue workers on dangerous fruit-
less chases, he said. Ie urged news organizations not
to report such details until confirmed by police and
"if we could all be a little miore patient and verify
information before we put it out, we wo't raise peo-
ple's hopes unnecessarily," Giuliani said.
CNN anchorwoman Paula Zahn, responding on
the air to Giuliani's request, noted that it has been
difficult to get accurate information out of the rescue
"We're all trying to heed this advice," she said.
"Unfortunately, everybody is being given conflicting
AIBC anchorman Peter Jennings said on Friday
that many viewers had called or c-mailed to say they
were troubled by television's repetition of video
footage of die planes exploding into the World trade
"We are mindfuil of that," Jenniigs said, "and we
have done our best ... to be really judicious with our
use of images that seriously trouble a great many
Long, emotional days and frayed nerves were
starting to take their toll on some television
reporters. CNN's Kelli Arena appeared flustered
talking with anchor Leon Harris when she tried to
quickly report on the names of 19 suspected hijack-
ers released by the Justice Department.
"They look an awful lot alike, Leon," she said.
i NEW YORK --
What day is it?
-it's 2 a.m. And
even though I've
put in a second -
or is it third? -
reporting for CNN, I can't sleep.
It's thundering here in New York
City. And the deep rumbles are pro-
foundly unsettling - even for this
veteran war correspondent, who has
heard artillery barrages in Nicaragua
and El Salvador and Liberia; explo-
sions iii Panama City after the U.S.
invasion, and Mexico City after earth-
But this time, the ruin - the dan-
ger and devastation and body count
- is at home.
And suddenly, the call cut off.
Minutes later, the North Tower col-
lapsed, Dissolved. A 110-story build-
ing just ... gone.
There were 38 people in that one
office. 50,000 worked in the two tow-
ers of the World Trade Center. For
three days now, everyone has been
doing this grim math problem. None
of us wants to factor it out, but all of
us know the answer somehow: Thou-
sands of people - individual people,
with middle names and pet peeves
and petty worries; people who liked
their coffee black or with milk and
two sugars; people who read "Green
Eggs and Ham" to their kids, and
knew how to give great kisses, and
left their smelly socks on the floor;
people who had plans for this week-
end, and for the mark they hoped to
leave on this world someday - all
WhenI was a kid-I'm a '50s kid-one
of the Big Questions was: Where were you
when you heard that John F. Kennedy had
been assassinated? One of the Big Questions
from now on will be: Where were you when
you heard that terrorists attacked the World
Trade Center, and the Pentagon?
I've lived in Manhattan for almost
20 years now. I don't live anywhere
near the World Trade Center. My
apartment is safely north - 123 blocks
north, according to a city map I've just
looked at, and realized is a sad relic of
a New York City forever changed. Still,
it all hits me where I live.
It hits all Americans where they
When I was a kid - I'm a '50s kid
- one of the Big Questions was:
Where were you when you heard that
John E Kennedy had been assassinat-
ed? One of the Big Questions from
now on will be: Where were you
when you heard that terrorists
attacked the World Trade Center, and
Me, I was in my Upper West Side
apartment, reading the New York
Times just before 9 a.m. on the
newest Historical Date To Remember:
September 11, 2001.
The mother of my long-time
boyfriend telephoned from Dallas,
Texas. "Oh God, is Cas in New
York?" she asked. Cas is a financial
industry consultant whose primary
client has, for three years, been a
company with offices on the 93rd
floor of the World Trade Center north
Cas was safe at home in Dallas. His
World Trade Center clients were among
the thousands who were not safe: All
38 of them were killed in the attack.
How can anyone be sure'? After the
first hijacked airliner hit the North
Tower, one of this company's employ-
ees called a relative on his cell phone.
Everyone else in our offices is dead,
he said, in a voice broken by static
and fear. A few of us are here in a
windowed conference room - one
vith a spectacular view of the city on
a clear day like Tuesday - trying to
shield ourselves from the hellish jet-
those people were just ... gone.
And for those legions of the lost -
each one of them -- there are net-
works of people who knew them and
loved them, or met them once and
thought they were nice. People who
will now have holes in their lives, in
the shape of a person who never came
home from work on Tuesday.
The New York Daily News head-
line on Thursday read: "10,000 Lost."
I've never been all that good at math,
but how many holes does that leave in
how many lives'?
I have to close this now - the
alarm is set to ring in four hours. And
when it does, I'll jar awake and sit up,
startled and disoriented. Until I
remember: Oh, yes. The world has
I'll get up, get dressed: a pressed
shirt that will look passably good on
camera; sturdy jeans and hiking boots
for walking through Ground Zero
dust - dust that, after tonight's rains,
will have turned to unholy mud.
Officials say another several down-
town buildings are on toothpicks;
may fall in the overnight storm. For
three days now, I've looked at the
faces of people on Manhattan's side-
walks, buses, subways. So many spir-
its seem close to falling, too.
The "Are You OK?" e-mails help,
profoundly - they're getting
through, when telephone calls do not.
Suddenly, prayers matter. For many of
us, they're somehow getting through,
I'll try to write again soon. In the
meantime, tell the people you love
that you love them. And go about liv-
ing. Those of us in New York City
will try to join you soon.
Beth Nissen is a CNN correspondent
and aformer reporter for The Michigan
Daily. She has also been a visiting
professor at the University of Michigan.
For the Michigan
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