Ten years after 9/11


The thinking behind this front page was that the passing of 10 years enabled us to step back and take a more analytical than emotional approach to 9/11. Comparing 19 simple numbers (simple, ha!) then and now with the hope that it would have a “Harper’s Index” effect on the reader – as he or she reads down the list of stats (price of gas, number of air marshals, mosques, democratic elections in Iraq & Afghanistan, highest-grossing movie, etc.) a picture may begin to form, however open to interpretation it may be. The percentage change from point to point is in scale. Some numbers had obvious connections to 9/11, and others, maybe not so much. But those are the things that make this more interesting, I think.

Denis Finley, the adrenalin addicted editor of The Virginian-Pilot, gave the go-ahead and we started looking for numbers. Jake Hays, Maureen Watts (researchers) and Tim McGlone (investigative reporter) began researching the stats and after a couple of weeks, ended up with the 19.

What didn’t make the cut? Surveillance cameras, airport waiting times, U.S. military hostile deaths, land lines, music cd sales, online dating companies…

I want to thank everyone at the paper for helping drag this across the finish line, especially my friend, Dave Mayfield, who meticulously copy edited this page.

The inside of the ‘wrap’ included an illustration I’d come up with as another option early on, local remembrances of Navy personnel, wire story and graphics of the three memorials.