A friend and former colleague gets irritated by the way the media in general make big deals of round numbers — the 10th, the 100th, the 500th, the 1,000th whatever — and the 10th anniversary of 9/11 was no exception. He posted on Facebook, “Sept. 11: blow it out every year, or don’t blow it out at all.” I understand his point, but the media attach greater significance to big, round numbers because that’s human nature; if we didn’t do it, people would ask why because they themselves (with a few exceptions such as my friend) do it. So if you look over the Sept. 11 pages archived by the Newseum, for the most part you’ll see attempts to note the weight the date carried. Not all of them attempted to “blow it out,” but many did. At Poynter.org, Julie Moos highlights 25 front pages that she felt convey the power of deliberative design: “By using tower imagery, illustration, flags and iconic photos, they carry the power of the moment.” One that didn’t make Moos’ list but is extremely evocative is the Cleveland Plain Dealer, a very arty design of two arms either reaching into the air or grasping at it, with a person falling between them:
None of Media General’s pages from the day made the 25, but as you can see below there was quite a range — from pages that look almost like any other day to ones qualifying as keepsakes. What’s most striking may be that there are no two that look very much alike.