From Chris Mele, executive editor of the Pocono Record:
Planning for our special 9/11 coverage started as early as May. We met as a staff to discuss stories, concepts and themes. We placed house ads in print and online to solicit stories from readers, asking them about their recollections of that day – regardless of where in the world they were.
The responses were overwhelming. We heard from rescuers, World Trade Center workers, victims’ relatives and from readers who just wanted to share their stories of what they were feeling and experienced that day.
My marching orders to the staff was this: Whatever we do, we have to look and feel distinctly different from our normal selves and we have to stand out from the competition on the newsstands. That the anniversary coincided with a Sunday gave us a unique opportunity to capture a larger audience and to go deeper in our coverage.
The end result was a rousing success. We produced a special ad-free 12-page section we themed: “Our Losses. Your Stories. We Remember.”
As home to thousands of New York City transplants and commuters, we knew how important his anniversary was.
Designer Andrea Higgins’ headlines, pacing and gray scale background struck just the right tone. Her design captured the quiet reverence and dignity the observance commanded. Her A1 cover was, in my opinion, in the top 1 percent of newspaper covers in the country. I can say this having looked Sunday at 633 of them at www.newseum.com front page link.
The section was packed with local stories of losses, near-misses, heartbreak and salvation. Most of the stories were written by reporter Andrew Scott, who did a spectacular job. Andrew’s stories were powerful, moving testimonials. They were gripping but never maudlin. He displayed extraordinary sensitivity and yet was unflinching in the details of his stories.
View the collection of stories.
Our inside B1 section was our customary Sunday page one and contained “harder” 9/11-related news stories. For Sunday for Monday, we covered eight different memorial services with a story round-up and a photo page.
In the end, we brought home and to life the stories of our neighbors on an important national anniversary. The staff performed a true community service.