Boston's Front Pages Go Big on 9/11 Remembrance

The New York Times notes that September 11 ceremonies in New York and elsewhere are downsizing for the 11th anniversary of the tragedy, even as Boston’s ceremonies remain largely the same size. It’s a trend that’s also playing out on the front pages of today’s papers, with Boston’s featuring stories on the anniversary much more prominently than many of New York’s. Here’s the Globe:

boston globe

Compare that to the Times, where there’s no mention.

new york times

Nor does the Wall Street Journal comment on it (except in a paid ad at the bottom by Citi.)

wall street journal

The tabloids are similar. Compare the Herald

boston herald… to the New York Post, which uncharacteristically sets aside the anniversary for news of Mark Sanchez’s hot date:

new york post

But the New York Daily News and a few of the smaller papers did go big on 9/11:

new york daily news
Today’s front page decisions, like every day’s, hinged on the other stories each paper had to offer and the judgement of each editor. And we imagine they all gave it a lot of thought. The New York Times‘s new ombudsman Margaret Sullivan actually has a column on the topic of “anniversary journalism,” today, noting the dilemma:

Every year, the anniversary of D-Day, the commemoration of Veterans Day and other important dates cause journalists to try to find the right balance between what readers think is appropriate and necessary and the lack of any actual news to drive the coverage.

In that sense, the Herald does a good job packaging their mention of the date in an actual news story. Sullivan asks Times editors for comment:

“Some anniversaries offer a natural reflection point,” said Carolyn Ryan, the metropolitan editor. Last year’s 10th anniversary of 9/11 surely fit that category. “In subsequent years, we do have to mark these moments, but it will be in a more modest way.”

Passing from a milestone year to an uneven one makes more apparent the gradual shifts in how we remember momentous tragedies. As we put decades between us and 2001, the day will begin to feel like “history.” But when exactly? September 11 is actually just the second bloodiest day in American history, but few front pages typically mark the anniversary of Antietam (though its 150th falls next Monday, so there might actually be a few this year.) There are obvious and sensible reasons for this. 150 is very different from 11, but how will we remember the 12th anniversary of the attacks? Or the 28th? It’s hard to say, but it looks like we’ll have three more years to observe.

[Images all via the Newseum’s front page archive.]

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