A Decade Later
9/7/2011 9:41:02 AM
Tom Butts is the Editor in Chief of TV Technology.
As this issue was going to press, the NewBay offices in northern Virginia experienced the East Coast's most powerful earthquake in more than 65 years. As we rushed from our offices, still wondering what was happening, I remembered what it was like the last time I experienced this kind of fear and trepidation on such a beautiful, sunny day. That, of course, was 10 years ago on 9/11. Of course, nothing that has happened since compares to what took place back then.
In this issue, we take a look back at that fateful day, profiling the lives of six broadcast engineers who lost their lives in World Trade Center Building 1 that housed the broadcast transmission infrastructure for much of the New York City area. I'll dispense with the usual "hero" talk, because, as you can tell by how their friends and families remember them, I doubt they would want to be remembered as such; instead they are remembered as selfless, dedicated and talented engineers who were never too busy to lend a helping hand, (or take themselves too seriously).
The broadcast industry's response to the tragedy a decade ago was nothing short of extraordinary, with four days of uninterrupted, commercial-free coverage. "The events of Sept. 11 erased completely a decade of hype suggesting that the medium of television had somehow been left irrelevant by a new competitor, the Internet," wrote Frank Beacham in his coverage back then. "In the hours after the disaster, four-fifths of U.S. viewers relied on television, 11 percent used radio and only 3 percent turned to the Internet as a primary source for news coverage."
Looking back on our coverage of 9/11, I found some interesting and poignant commentaries from our correspondents that I thought appropriate to share on this 10th anniversary:
Dave Moulton, Inside Audio, commenting on the media's role in 9/11:
"Honor embraces a code of personal integrity and dignity that elicits respect and admiration from all humanity, a code that characterizes the highest qualities in humans. We work to make things better for all, not to make things worse of some. Our work may seem trivial, but it is nonetheless honorable work of real value. By that simple fact, we stand apart and above the miserable, deficient miscreants who sought to hurt us on Sept. 11."
Andrew Morris, remembering Bill Steckman one of the six engineers who died on 9/11:
"I worked with Bill in the early '90's when I was director of engineering for WNBC. Bill was both a talented engineer and a fine human being… Blessed with a great sense of humor and a generous heart, Bill was liked and respected by all who worked with him and were fortunate enough to have known him."
Bill Hayes, Digital Journal, reflecting on the IBC Show in Amsterdam that took place right after 9/11:
"I really can't tell you if it was a good conference or not from the technical and business standpoint. I can tell you that as an American, everywhere I went at the conference and throughout Amsterdam, the people stopped to express their sympathies and concern. They wanted us and all American to know that they were with us."