Digital coverage of the 9/11 anniversary

By Sree Sreenivasan on September 8, 2011 2:01pm 

A 9/11 Museum worker wears a hardhat honoring 9/11.
A 9/11 Museum worker wears a hardhat honoring 9/11.
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DNAinfo/Ben Fractenberg

The media is in full commemoration mode for the 10th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks.

From television specials (including CNN’s four separate documentaries) to dozens of new and reissued books (links to 800+ here) to magazine special issues, there’s no escaping the anniversary. DNAinfo, of course, has its own, extensive coverage on various aspects of the anniversary, and our editors will keep adding to the collection.

Here is a guide to some of the coverage, including ones especially worth noting. Some of these have been created just for the anniversary, some of these first appeared over the last decade. It’s far from comprehensive, so please tell us about other items in the comments section below.

ARCHIVES: Several websites carry archives of their work from the attacks, but a good place to start is “The 9/11 Television News Archive,” which features 3,000 hours of US and international TV coverage over the first seven days. This is a project of Archive.org, the nonprofit best-known for the Wayback Machine, a way to look back at web page iterations over the years.

9/11 MEMORIAL: 911memorial.org, the official site of the National September 11 Memorial & Museum, has lots to explore. You can learn about the design and history of the memorial; see animations of what the completed area will look like; and take a virtual tour using Google Earth. You can also make reservations to visit the memorial in person; the earliest slot I could get as of this writing was Wednesday, 9/14 (like a lot of big NYC tourist attractions, I imagine getting access at times most convenient to you is going to be tough).

WEBCAMS: EarthCam, which offers a collection of live webcams from around the world, has a dedicated World Trade Center page. There you can find live webcams showing the construction site, as well as time-lapse videos going all the way back to the day of the attacks themselves (one of the time-lapse videos is up on NBCNewYork.com).

VIDEO & INTERACTIVE GRAPHICS: One of the major ways the media landscape has changed since 2001 is how much progress we've made in terms of rich interactive graphics and video storytelling. 911memorial.org has an excellent interactive timeline of the 2001 events, including all that happened that day at the Twin Towers, on the ill-fated flights and in Washington, D.C. and Pennsylvania. AP’s "Ten Years Later" presents videos and graphics that look at the attacks, the wars that followed and the way the world has changed. ELearningExamples.com, which showcases multimedia projects, has put together a comprehensive collection of 9/11 materials from various publications. Among them: the Guardian’s project, letting you record your thoughts about that day, and a History.com project about those 102 minutes (from the first plane hit to the towers’ collapse). Also worth seeing: YouTube.com/September11, a joint project of YouTube and the New York Times, which features remembrances by well-known artists as well as ordinary people (you can share your story) and a collection of videos from the past 10 years. And available just in time for the anniversary: real-time audio from the FAA and NORAD reflecting the disarray and confusion of that  day, posted at NYTimes.com.

PHOTOGRAPHY: "Rare scenes from 9/11," on VanityFair.com, is a collection of photos that surfaced publicly well after the attacks themselves. Also from the same site, "The Heroes of Ground Zero," 30 portraits of first responders, rescue workers and families. "This is the New York—and the America—worth fighting for, one not of skyscrapers, but of people," notes writer Ron Beinner. Two other collections of outstanding photographs from 9/11: Time’s photo essay by renowned photojournalist James Nachtwey (one of his photos ran on the cover that week) and National Geographic’s "Remembering 9/11."

THE TWIN TOWERS & HOLLYWOOD: Filmmaker Dan Meth has put together "Twin Tower Cameos," a video featuring appearances by the World Trade Center towers in various movies, starting in the early 1970s, some just a couple of seconds long. "This montage celebrates the towers' all-too-short film career with songs that capture the passing decades. Man, I miss them," writes Meth. Another fan of the towers, Donna Grunewald has painstaking collected a listing of every appearance of the towers in movies, complete with still frames.

THE WRITTEN WORD: As dynamic and powerful as the multimedia coverage has become over the last 10 years, the written word has continued to be the dominant way we tell stories online. Predictions of text being subsumed by video haven’t come true, mainly because words are easier to read and share even as our access to bandwidth has increased (and of course, no headphones needed at work). Here are three in-depth 9/11 stories over the last 10 years worth revisiting: "The Falling Man," a 2008 story by Esquire’s Tom Junod that told the story of a photograph of one of the jumpers that day (named by the magazine as one of the seven best pieces it ever published); “Portraits of Grief,” the Pulitzer-winning series of short, intimate stories about more than 1,800 9/11 victims (and now including some updates) and "What If 9/11 Never Happened," 18 essays commissioned in 2006 by New York magazine (Tom Wolfe, Doris Kearns Goodwin and Fareed Zakaria are among the writers). Also be sure to see online version of New York’s "The Encyclopedia of 9/11" (a fascinating cover story in the current print double issue).

What did I miss? Post your comments below using your Facebook account or on Twitter @sree, using the #911links hashtag.

Every week, DNAinfo contributing editor Sree Sreenivasan, a Columbia journalism professor, shares his observations about the changing media landscape.

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