Remembering 9/11 – newspaper covers 20 years later

By Brad Needham

September 11, 2001. 9/11. It was a day that changed the world. The attacks in New York, heard and seen around the world. Today marks 20 years since that infamous day. I remember my first indication something was up was waking up to an email from a friend who worked at the United Nations saying, don’t worry, I am safe. Shortly thereafter the world watched as a second plane flew into the World Trade Center buildings. I was in my final year of journalism school so wasn’t in a newsroom, but I have heard the stories. The chaos. Tearing papers apart. Trying to get special editions out. The Guelph Mercury apparently put out an edition with the attacks on the cover, removing all the stories that were there, but left the turns from the original stories inside.

September 11, 2021. Twenty years later, I look at some amazing newspaper covers as the world remembers and reflects on that day. Some are what you would expect. Some are not. It was a tragedy on an unimaginable scale. But this is about the creativity in newsrooms around the world. How do they tell the story visually? I will let the covers mostly speak for themselves. There were dozens (the vast majority of papers in the U.S. had a big 9/11 splash) so I have chosen a few that cover the themes I saw. Some just wildly creative and powerful, simple and elegant. Some showing current photos, some showing destruction. Some taking an artistic approach. Here they are.

Newsday cover, Sept. 11, 2021, on the 20th anniversary of the attacks in New York.

This Newsday cover does so much. It’s different than many others. No towers, no planes, no destruction. Just a little girl. A New York T-shirt. A monument remembering those who died. A single flower.

Toronto Star front page, Sept. 11, 2021, on the 20th anniversary of the attacks in New York.

Definitely the strongest 9/11 front page in Canada. The Toronto Star uses a big, powerful image. So well processed. An image similar to this was used in many newspapers. It was just used better here. Minimal text. Stunning.

Dennik N cover, Sept. 10, 2021, on the 20th anniversary of the attacks in New York.

The Dennik N page from Sept. 10 and The Economist from Sept. 11 do something similar with the numbers, similar conceptually, but they look so different. These are two of my favourites. Simple. Beautiful. I love so much that one line, on the first 1, makes all the difference. It takes it from numbers to buildings. So smart.

The Economist cover, Sept. 11, 2021, on the 20th anniversary of the attacks in New York.
Politiken front page, Sept. 11, 2021, on the 20th anniversary of the attacks in New York.

This is a creative page by Politiken. It is so simple.

USA Today front page, Sept. 11, 2021, on the 20th anniversary of the attacks in New York.

These two — above, USA Today, and below, Chattanooga Times Free Press — went with the big photo of the Tribute Lights. Many papers took this approach.

Both these pages used an art-based approach. Above, Salzburger Nachrichten is quite bold. Below is the Longview News-Journal.

The Jyllands-Posten uses a different photo than most. No destruction visible. But the people. What a photo.

And the Las Vegas Review-Journal. It uses a similar photo to the Star, without the person. This photo was used widely today.

The Anniston Star went with one of the most terrifying photos from 2001. These photos will never not send me right back.

And below are two pages from 2001. I have looked at pages from this time in a previous post, so I won’t go too far into it. The New York Times and The Sydney Morning Herald, Sept. 12, 2001.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s