A Former Reporter’s 9/11 Memory

Ground Zero Video Shoot: Sept. 2010

Many of you might know I’m a former TV news reporter. On September 11, 2001, I walked into the WLWT-TV (Cincinnati) newsroom, set down my bag, looked at the bank of televisions over the assignment desk and asked why the World Trade Center was on fire?

Nobody in the newsroom had noticed the live picture on the Today Show. We gathered at the assignment desk, and minutes later the second plane hit the second tower.

My assignment that day was to do a story on all the people who flooded a downtown cathedral during their lunch hour. It’s the only story of my journalism career I got emotionally wrapped-up in. I was fine until the building spontaneously burst into God Bless America. I teared up and had to walk out to compose myself before attempting to interview people as they left.

Photographer Kevin Martin and I put together an awesome story that day… and it never aired. NBC went more than 24-hours without local programming, so none of the stories our team created that day were ever broadcast.

And you know what… I could have cared less. A good friend of mine from college was a reporter for Bloomberg Financial Network at the time and worked on the stock exchange. I was far more concerned about whether or not my friend was dead than my story airing. Thankfully, she evacuated before the towers came down and is alive and well.

I’d like to make some point here. Link the story to being detached when you create a video or working under pressure, but I can’t… or won’t. I just wanted to share what I was doing the day our world changed.

We should all remember our feelings that day. Never forget.

–Tony Gnau