Editor’s notebook: Remembering September 11 – the day the Internet broke | Chroniclers


My press team was frantically trying to analyze the fire hose of information from New York, Pennsylvania and Washington, DC Our colleagues in our Washington office were rushing to cover up the carnage at the Pentagon as the city erupted in chaos. We didn’t have an office in New York and relied on The Associated Press for most of the live updates from there.

Meanwhile, my TV screen had turned into a hellish version of the movie “Groundhog Day”. The footage of the collapse of the two World Trade Center towers was so gruesome, so incredible, and so historic that cable networks kept showing them endlessly every five minutes or so, all day, every day.

I didn’t have the option of turning off the TV, as many home viewers probably did when they had had enough and had to sit down and process what they had just seen. So I kept updating the news and reliving the nightmare over and over again.

The day the internet broke

The biggest problem online news providers faced that day, and in the days to come, was a huge brownout: our websites weren’t loading and readers couldn’t get there. to access.

We had to strip our websites of images and graphics to load, one day when images were history.

Internet news was in its infancy then, in many ways. Tim Berners-Lee, a British scientist, invented the World Wide Web in 1989, and most American newspapers started launching their websites in the early to mid-1990s, but the strong, interconnected online infrastructure we have enjoy now was not yet a reality in 2001..

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