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11th Sep 2021

How TV stations across the world first reported the September 11 attacks

Tony Cuddihy

September 11 attacks TV news reports

“We are utterly in shock and disbelief.”

RTÉ News

Bryan Dobson reflected the mood not just of the Irish people, but of those across the world when the twin towers of the World Trade Centre were struck by two airplanes on September 11, 2001.

The RTÉ broadcaster spoke to Carole Coleman, the Washington correspondent of the time, and she described how things “are happening faster here than you could possibly imagine.”

Clip via legendal1989

Sky News

Kay Burley was on duty for Sky News at the time, interrupting a report to bring “very, very sketchy details. We believe that a plane has crashed into the World Trade Centre. That happened in the last few moments, no details at this stage as to what sort of plane it is. It could well be a large plane, we’re hearing reports of a 737.”

Shortly afterwards, Sky managed to switch over to a live feed of the New York skyline.

Clip via michael5046til


It’s easy to forget how little knowledge we had about those responsible as the news broke on that Tuesday afternoon in this part of the world, or that it was even a terrorist attack at all.

Clip via 1234proximus


The Early Show on CBS featured interviews with Peter Boyle and Ray Romano from ‘Everybody Loves Raymond’ on the morning of the attacks.

The show’s weather forecaster had earlier stated, “it’s kinda quiet around the country. We like quiet, but it’s too quiet,” and then at 8.52am Bryant Gumbel interrupted the broadcast to deliver the news into American homes.

Clip via 911InvestigationGirlfriends


Gumbel’s former colleagues at NBC, Katie Couric, Al Roker and Matt Lauer, were presenting Today on NBC.

Lauer was in the middle of a segment at 8.52am which he was forced to interrupt to say there was breaking news from the World Trade Centre.

The producers were not quite ready to bring a live feed, so Lauer ushered in a commercial break. Couric returned a couple of minutes later with an eye-witness account.

There are audible gasps around 11 minutes later when the woman on the line describes how another plane has just flown over her building and hit the other tower.

Clip via mckinnism1

CNN Live

Interrupting an ad break, the coverage here is notable for the amount of background noise you can here in the newsroom as the journalists try to grasp the enormity of what has just happened.

Clip via cjnewson88

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