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Readers' Representative Journal
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LOCALReaders' Representative Journal

9/11: Not forgotten, but not on the front page

September 11, 2001 AttacksNews MediaNewspaper and MagazineThe Washington Post

It’s Sept. 11: our generation’s date that will live in infamy.

The attacks on New York and Washington 11 years ago are certainly on the minds of some readers, who wondered why there was no mention of the anniversary on The Times’ front page.

The Nation page carries a six-column photo and story about observances planned for the day. And the Op-Ed page has a piece by a former Times reporter about explaining 9/11 to her children.

But some readers were expecting more.

“Really, Los Angeles Times? Not a mention of the 11th anniversary of 9/11 until page 8?”  asked Catherine Clemente of Agua Dulce.

“I seriously thought that it was the 10th or 12th of September when I looked down the front page, failing to spot any mention of one of the most important days in our recent history,” Collin Calderon of Culver City wrote. "I'm ashamed of The Times for a lack of patriotism and pride in my country."

And Christine van Eyck emailed, “I am terribly disappointed that you chose not to focus your front page on the 9/11 memorial today! How could you not remember such an important day?”

Managing Editor Marc Duvoisin responded, “There is no question The Times should recognize the 9/11 anniversary in some manner every year, and we do.”

“The goal is to recognize the anniversary in a way that is proportional and appropriate,” Duvoisin said. “A year ago, the 10th anniversary provided an occasion for deep reflection on a nationwide scale, and The Times published an extensive series of articles, personal testimonials and photo essays before and after the date. This year, a more measured acknowledgment seemed appropriate.”

One challenge newspapers face with anniversaries is that commemorations occur on the date of the event – which means they’re reported in the next day’s editions.

Duvoisin said that would be the case in The Times. “Tomorrow’s front page will feature a photograph of 9/11 observances, with additional coverage inside the paper,” he said.

Online, it’s a different story. Latimes.com has had 9/11 coverage on the homepage for much of the day, rotating in and out of the main photo position.

Newspapers around the country handled the anniversary differently. In New York and Washington – the cities targeted by the attacks – the New York Times did not put 9/11 on the front page, and the Washington Post had only a small photo of the smoking World Trade Center towers, which it used to refer readers inside to a related article. (The Poynter Institute collected these and other front pages.)

On Facebook, where Los Angeles Times social media editors posted a pdf of the day’s front page, as they regularly do, Bill Atwood commented, “You DO realize it’s 9/11… right?”

We do. How could anyone forget?

readers.representative@latimes.com

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