Running Toward Danger

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Explore: The role of the free press, Sept. 11, breaking news, reporting challenges, the first draft of history, journalism ethics, the public's need to know, balancing the personal and the professional.

Just as police and firefighters do in a disaster, journalists on Sept. 11 ran toward danger. Journalists John DelGiorno, Beth Fertig, Marianne McCune, Tom Franklin, Harold Dow and Martin Glembotzky give first-person accounts of their courageous coverage on the terrorist attacks on the Twin Towers in New York's World Trade Center.


This video and viewing guide examine the dangers and challenges that journalists face when covering breaking news and disasters. Using the events of Sept. 11, 2001, as a lens, you will examine the role of a journalist during and after a traumatic event. When covering these stories, journalists often endanger their own lives and sometimes find themselves at odds with emergency responders. However, you will see that journalists on that day, and throughout history, risked all in order to ensure that the public got news quickly about these world-changing events. Using all the tools at their disposal, journalists run toward the dangerous stories and report the news as it happens.

Learn more about the role of the press in reporting breaking news and catastrophic events like those of Sept. 11, 2001.

Recommended grade levels: High school; college (Note: This video contains graphic footage of the Sept. 11 World Trade Center attacks.)

Essential Questions:

  • What happened in New York City on Sept. 11, 2001? What were the long- and short-term effects of those events?
  • How did journalists cover the events of Sept. 11, 2001?
  • What is the role of a journalist?
  • What tools and methods do journalists use to report breaking news?
  • What challenges do journalists face when working during or after a disaster?
  • Why does the public have a need to know about important events? What is the role of the press in providing this information?