Women Journalists of 9/11: Their Stories

We tuned into their reports on 9/11. Now hear their stories.

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Overview

We tuned in to their reports on 9/11. Now hear the stories of 20 brave female reporters and learn how that one day turned the tide for many women in journalism. Hear from Dana Bash, Ann Compton, Rehema Ellis, Savannah Guthrie, Maggie Haberman, and 15 other key female journalists, who covered 9/11, to discover their experiences and their courage, in this 20-part series about women in journalism and what has changed since 9/11.

Disclaimer:

This content contains graphic descriptions and images of violence and acts of terror, which may be disturbing and may not be suitable for minors or other audiences. The opinions and positions provided in this content reflect the opinions and positions of the relevant presenter and do not necessarily reflect the opinions or positions of The Teaching Company or its affiliates.

About

Allison Gilbert
Allison Gilbert

Allison Gilbert is an Emmy Award–winning journalist and author who was nearly killed on 9/11 working as a television news producer at Ground Zero. She is a coeditor of Covering Catastrophe: Broadcast Journalists Report September 11, considered the definitive historical record of how broadcast journalists covered that tragic day. She is the official narrator of the audio tour for the 9/11 Memorial & Museum’s historical exhibition September 11, 2001. Her 9/11 reflections are introduced by Robert De Niro on the museum’s Witnessing History tour, and she’s the only female journalist to be so honored. Her journalism career spans nearly 30 years: as a frequent writer for The New York Times; a producer for CNN, WNBC-TV, and WABC-TV; and part of the original launch teams for New York 1 News and MSNBC. She serves on the board of directors for the National Alliance for Children’s Grief and on the advisory board for the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, the preeminent national organization providing grief support to families of America’s fallen heroes.

By This Expert

Reporting 9/11 and Why It Still Matters
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Rose Arce

01: Rose Arce

How does one report September 11 when all one has is a flip phone? According to Rose Arce: “By just saying what I was seeing, because I recognized that my job that day was to relate what was happening.” Arce explains how she maneuvered around numerous technological hurdles to cover indescribable moments and scenes at the World Trade Center in lower Manhattan.

14 min
Dana Bash

02: Dana Bash

On September 11, Dana Bash was a Capitol Hill producer at CNN, in charge of gathering information and getting correspondents on television. Here, she relates her experiences covering “the Capitol Hill story,” including fears of more attacks in Washington, and the moment when the Capitol Police told her and others to “Run, run for your lives. Run as fast as you can.”

17 min
Kia Baskerville

03: Kia Baskerville

“So, I’m thinking: Okay, something’s up.” Follow Kia Baskerville as she takes us through her day in the motorcade following President George W. Bush after he was informed of the attacks while visiting Emma E. Booker Elementary School in Sarasota, Florida. Then, hear how she ended up covering the president’s address to the nation later that evening at the White House.

19 min
Edith Chapin

04: Edith Chapin

Journalism is about making choices on what to include in a story—and what to leave out. That ethic was tested on September 11 when CNN’s Edith Chapin found herself making fast-paced decisions not only about how to coordinate a team working in the direct line of danger, but how to handle startling images of people jumping from the Twin Towers.

19 min
Jane Clayson

05: Jane Clayson

Jane Clayson had just finished a segment with Gourmet magazine for The Early Show on CBS when she learned of the first plane hitting the World Trade Center. Hear her describe how she helped gather information, how she gave viewers a much-needed context for the events of that morning, and how she fulfilled the most important task a news anchor has when covering a disaster: maintain a sense of calm.

13 min
Ann Compton

06: Ann Compton

Ann Compton, following President George W. Bush in Sarasota, Florida, on September 11, wrote in her notebook, “9:07 a.m.: Andy whispers.” That’s when she knew something drastic had just happened. As she reflects on how that day shaped her as a reporter, she highlights the humility it takes, when covering a story as it happens, to not have all the answers.

17 min
Rehema Ellis

07: Rehema Ellis

“The air was just so filled with ash,” Rehema Ellis recalls of her experience for NBC News from Ground Zero. Among the many insights she offers about her reporting on September 11 is her decision—once night fell upon the rubble of what was not just a national tragedy but a crime scene—to stay and document everything she saw instead of going home.

20 min
Beth Fertig

08: Beth Fertig

Beth Fertig’s assignment on September 11 for WNYC News Radio was: Track down Mayor Rudy Giuliani. When she emerged from the City Hall subway stop, she entered a world of ash. Shortly thereafter, the South Tower collapsed. Fertig explains her decision to run while narrating events at the same time. She also touches on the palpable fear and anger she felt after the attacks.

16 min
Savannah Guthrie

09: Savannah Guthrie

Before she became co-anchor of The Today Show, Savannah Guthrie was a freelance reporter in Washington, DC, who reported from the Pentagon while fires from the attacks still burned. Guthrie shares how she handled emotionally charged interviews with eyewitnesses and, later, listened to the Flight 93 recorder while covering the trial of Zacharias Moussaoui.

17 min
Maggie Haberman

10: Maggie Haberman

Maggie Haberman was at City Hall on September 11, covering New York City’s mayoral race, when she suddenly had to pivot to covering terrorist attacks. In this interview, she discusses the difficulty of reporting the news amid so much fear and grief, amid unconfirmed reports of more planes in the air waiting to attack, and amid the unbearable roar of the Twin Towers collapsing.

16 min
Christine Haughney

11: Christine Haughney

Christine Haughney Dare-Bryan was the first reporter sent in by The Washington Post to the World Trade Center. Hear about how her reporting became instrumental in regard to the information available about environmental hazards and the health issues that ensued.

12 min
Susan Koeppen

12: Susan Koeppen

At the time of 9/11, Susan Koeppen worked for WTAE-TV Pittsburgh and was one of the key journalists reporting from Shanksville, PA. Learn about what it was like to have a first-hand view of the crash site and how it felt to be one of the first people with access to the black box recording, hearing the infamous words: “Let’s roll.”

15 min
Juleyka Lantigua

13: Juleyka Lantigua

Hear from Juleyka Lantigua, a reporter from Urban Latino Magazine, who was instrumental in telling the stories that were too often invisible. Juleyka discusses how the entire kitchen staff at Windows on the World on the 107th floor of the World Trade Center’s North Tower were mostly Latinos and the impact that had on the Latino community.

17 min
Cynthia McFadden

14: Cynthia McFadden

Cynthia McFadden was co-anchor of Primetime at ABC on September 11. She recounts her experiences in New York City while covering hospitals and triage centers after the attack on the Twin Towers. She also reflects on the changing landscape for women in journalism.

14 min
Amy Morris

15: Amy Morris

As a reporter for WTOP Radio in Washington, DC, Amy Morris describes how the events of September 11 unfolded as seen from the DC perspective and why it was so difficult to get a clear picture of what was actually happening.

16 min
Isolda Peguero

16: Isolda Peguero

On September 11, Isolda Peguero, a reporter for Telemundo, struggled to get physically close to the World Trade Center to cover the astounding events happening in New York City. Peguero describes how she ensured that the stories got reported in several languages so that listeners would have the opportunity to understand.

15 min
Kristen Shaughnessy

17: Kristen Shaughnessy

Formerly of NY1, Kristen Shaughnessy went live on September 11 reporting the events in New York City from a payphone. Hear her description of her experience narrating what she was seeing, from watching the buildings fall to seeing horrific scenes of destruction, and worse.

16 min
Barbara Starr

18: Barbara Starr

With thoughts of celebrating her birthday later that day on September 11, ABC News Pentagon producer Barbara Starr was on-site at the Pentagon when it was attacked. As she reflects on her unprecedented view of the events as they unfolded, hear how difficult it was to get the facts in the initial hours of determining what was happening in our nation.

14 min
Anne Thompson

19: Anne Thompson

The quickly unfolding events in New York City caused a rush for immediacy of news coverage. NBC News reporter Anne Thompson arrived at the World Trade Center just as the first building fell, with very little idea of what was going on. Hear how Thompson was able to report from Ground Zero in real-time, despite being sent down to report with no camera crew or support personnel.

20 min
Linda Wertheimer

20: Linda Wertheimer

On September 11, Linda Wertheimer was watching the unfolding events at the World Trade Center on television as they were occurring in her own backyard. She highlights her reporting that day as anchor for NPR’s All Things Considered, as she continually gathered information for the listeners of the radio program while broadcasting the breaking, unprecedented news events.

20 min