Media frenzy was old by Tuesday

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 13, 2002

If we go through the same media circus for Sept. 11 next year, I'll go nuts.

No disrespect is intended to the victims of the worst act of terrorism that's ever occurred on American soil. However, the hype leading up to this past week was excessive.

Then came the day itself.

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There were numerous interviews with family members, witnesses, fire and police personnel and, yes, even members of the media.

When you get to that level, you know it's being overplayed.

We were careful in what we put into this newspaper as far as coverage of the attacks.

Our main focus was covering this story from a local angle. That's why you saw coverage on Wednesday and Thursday on local events that took place in both Austin and Adams.

It's also why that the stories we did for our special section, dubbed "A Changed America," had all local stories in it. The only national-related content we added were two photos and a timeline, detailing what's happened since that time in a short and easy-to-read format.

We reasoned that our readers who wanted more coverage on the national observance side of this event would be able to get that from CNN or USA Today.

But as far as stories and connections from those who lived in and around Austin, we were going to be the ones to provide that information.

But back to this Sept. 11 hangover.

All the information that various television networks showed was, indeed, moving. The problem was that we've seen much of it already.

How many times do we really need to see planes crashing into the World Trade Center towers? Or watching people flee Manhattan with their faces covered up by their shirts?

I will concede, however, there was one program that caught my attention. ABC had a one-hour look on what went through the minds of our nation's leaders after the attacks.

The insight into folks like Vice President Dick Cheney, National Security Advisor Condoleeza Rice and Chief of Staff Andrew Card was new information, much of which we haven't heard before.

That was interesting. It was new stuff, not the recycled drama that many of us had seen for the past 12 months.

Regardless, my hope is we don't have to go through the same media frenzy this time next year.

Sept. 11, 2001 was a tragic day. We should never live in denial of what happened and we should remember those who innocently lost their lives.

However, overhyping the day and reliving it over and over was draining on many of us.

If we do this again next year, our honoring of these victims will quickly turn into disrespect.

Dan Fields can be reached at 434-2230 or by e-mail at