What online news looked like on 9/11

With Twitter, Facebook and YouTube yet to come, newspapers and TV sites played pivotal role

Sites looked primitive by today's standards

There was no Twitter, Facebook or YouTube on September 11, 2001. Google News was a year from launch. And while almost everyone stayed glued to their TV sets to watch the unfolding horror, there still was plentiful coverage online. The Internet Archive WayBack Machine doesn't crawl all news sites, and some of those that it does weren't recorded on 9/11, but what follows is a representative sample of how the sites looked on that day. Included are the BBC, CNN, the New York Times, FOX News and Reuters.

Fox News

So understated given the circumstances. So unlike the FOX we've come to know.

Los Angeles Times

Under the headline "All Air Travel Is Grounded Nationwide" is this prediction: "Travel experts expect a permanent increase in security."

CNN

Note that there's no video, and no live feed from CNN's television coverage.

New York Times

Time on the page is 7:45 p.m. This was the only one of the sample sites showing the twin towers already down.

Chicago Sun-Times

Mention of Bin Laden in the second paragraph reinforces how immediately US officials knew who was responsible.

Boston.com

Although the WayBack Machine dates this one September 11, the page itself says September 12.

Reuters

Small box lower left notes that it was the 150th anniversary of the news service and invites readers to "Get Reuters News on your PDA." Due to the Reuters policy of objective language, the agency never used the word "terrorism" in their reports which courted controversy in the States.

BBC

The site invites readers to "Send in your eyewitness accounts and reactions," a practice that has become commonplace today.

Yahoo

The worst of the bunch, hands down.

CNET

This page is dated September 13 and shows that even the technology sites were given over to news of the attacks.

Wired

A September 14 page carries these two headlines: "Senate OKs FBI Net Spying" and "Passengers: Delays Worth The Wait."

  • Sites looked primitive by today's standards
  • Fox News
  • Los Angeles Times
  • CNN
  • New York Times
  • Chicago Sun-Times
  • Boston.com
  • Reuters
  • BBC
  • Yahoo
  • CNET
  • Wired
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  • Backward
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Sites looked primitive by today's standards

There was no Twitter, Facebook or YouTube on September 11, 2001. Google News was a year from launch. And while almost everyone stayed glued to their TV sets to watch the unfolding horror, there still was plentiful coverage online. The Internet Archive WayBack Machine doesn't crawl all news sites, and some of those that it does weren't recorded on 9/11, but what follows is a representative sample of how the sites looked on that day. Included are the BBC, CNN, the New York Times, FOX News and Reuters.

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