Going Back Twenty Years to Look Forward

Times Insider explains who we’re and what we do, and delivers behind-the-scenes insights into how our journalism comes collectively.

In The New York Times’s 18-page part devoted to the 20th anniversary of Sept. 11 in Sunday’s paper, there’s surprisingly little accounting of the occasions of the day itself.

That’s as a result of the handfuls of Times reporters, editors, photographers and designers who contributed wished to encourage readers to take a extra forward-thinking have a look at the occasions of the deadliest international assault on American soil, Jennifer Harlan, the challenge supervisor, stated.

“Twenty years is far enough out that you can have a little perspective on what the aftermath of the event has been and how that’s shaped the present,” she stated. “It’s not as raw and feels more like history to some people. There are many adults now who weren’t old enough to remember 9/11 or weren’t born yet.”

The package deal of 9 featured tales consists of contributions from throughout the Times newsroom. The reporter and columnist Dan Barry seems to be at how New York City chooses to keep in mind Sept. 11, and whether or not it has ever or will ever transfer on from the tragedy. The photographer Hilary Swift took portraits of survivors and rescuers who’ve struggled with Sept. 11-related diseases for 20 years. Elizabeth Dias, who covers religion and politics for The Times, wrote about how the legacy of Islamophobia after the assaults has formed the American Muslim neighborhood.

“We didn’t want to do too many memorial stories that looked back,” Ms. Harlan stated. “We focused on the idea of how one day has changed New York and the United States, and the ways we as individuals move through the world, 20 years later.”

The collapse of the World Trade Center towers destroyed a number of close by buildings and shut out common life from Lower Manhattan. Michael Kimmelman, the Times’s structure critic, has chronicled the rebuilding of the neighborhood and the rising of One World Trade Center. In an article for the part, he writes that whereas the reconstruction at floor zero was stuffed with missed alternatives, the realm blossomed anyway.

“Rebuilding ground zero was at best an imperfect, highly optical process,” he stated. “But it’s a reminder that New York has a way of adapting and moving. Even if it’s not the most perfect place, the city has grown around it.”

Planning for the part began in May, when Ms. Harlan reached out to newsroom leaders to get a way of their protection plans for the anniversary. From there, she and Adam Sternbergh, a fellow particular initiatives editor for The Times, created a Google Doc to monitor story and picture assignments for the part.

“We wanted to encourage desks to put their best, most ambitious journalism forward,” Ms. Harlan stated. “We didn’t want to do stories just for the sake of the anniversary.”

Once the tales had been filed, the part’s print designer, Jane Mitchell, confronted a problem: How to devise a format that will assist the reader make sense of particular person tales, fairly than confronting a jumble of phrases and pictures.

Sept. 11 Anniversary ›

Live Tributes

Updated Sept. 11, 2021, 6:05 p.m. ETScenes at floor zero as a disaster-weary nation marked 20 years since 9/11.She survived 9/11 and Covid: ‘You just keep going.’A conspiracy movie energized the ‘9/11 truther’ motion and fueled the present age of disinformation.

“I felt the gravity of this assignment, and the biggest challenge was just wanting to get it right,” Ms. Mitchell stated.

In holding with the theme of vital examination fairly than remembrance, the part has extra newly commissioned pictures than archival ones, together with photos of what the neighborhood seems to be like now. On the quilt is a photograph of One World Trade, the location’s new tower, mirrored within the glass of a close-by constructing.

That’s not to say the historical past of the day is totally absent. Photographs from that day and its aftermath, a part of a Times physique of labor that was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News Photography in 2002, seem in a grid behind the part. Gina Privitere, a photograph editor at The Times who labored on the part, requested the photographers to mirror on their experiences.

“While everyone was kind enough to share their stories, it was not something they liked talking about,” Ms. Privitere stated.

There can also be a full-page unfold with 2,977 names: each sufferer of the assaults that day in New York, on the Pentagon and in Shanksville, Pa., the place a fourth hijacked airplane crashed. Though the black kind is tiny, every title stands out in opposition to the grey background.

“It is still Sept. 11th, 2001, for many people,” Ms. Mitchell stated. “There is still illness and trauma and grief.”