This is not a criticism–it’s a question. Do we care about commemorating 9/11 anymore?
Niether the New York Times nor the New York Post ran front page stories about the 11th anniversary of 9/11 on Tuesday. And it came as somewhat of a shock in the newspaper industry that two hometown newspapers ignored the event by leaving any mention of it off their front pages.
“Anniversary journalism” is the buzz phrase for the media coverage of events that are remembered year after year. Other New York newspapers didn’t leave the remembrances off the front page. Neither did New Jersey newspapers, where an overwhelming number of those affected by the events of 9/11 live. Connecticut newspapers didn’t either.
The Times editor cited readership as the main reason for the decision, saying that the newspaper has a much broader readership than just New York, and that includes a large percentage of international readers, especially online. It’s hardly the hometown newspaper. For the Post, the reason came to down newsworthiness, adding that while the pain of the event lingers, journalism must not. The event has lost its newsworthiness.
While I understand these reasons, I am not sure I agree with them. September 11th slipping off the front page and moving inside these hometown newspapers sends a powerful message. I agree with the assessment on the Poynter Institute website, a sort of think tank for the journalism industry. I think what’s really being said is: It’s time to move on.
Or is it?