Kansas City Remembers 9/11

Roch Thornton

Covering the story

Overland Park KS

I was alone in the KansasCity.com newsroom updating the website while CNN played on the TV. Then CNN said a plane had hit the World Trade Center and cut away from some talking heads to show smoke drifting from the first tower. They had no details, only speculation. After a few minutes of that, the second plane hit and I knew it was a terrorist attack. I immediately thought of al-Qaida because they were known for coordinated attacks and had just assassinated Ahmad Shah Massoud a couple of days before in Afghanistan. There was nothing on AP or any of the news websites, so I wrote my own story, just a few paragraphs, and put it on top of the home page. I found one of the first photos AP transmitted and put that on the home page. I was gathering information to expand our story (the news channels had gone to live feeds, so I was an eyewitness) when the phone rang. It was my boss and we had a brief exchange: "Have you heard?" "I'm on it." "I'm coming in." Then the whole Internet slowed to a crawl as everybody in the world with a computer went online. We spent the that day and the night constantly updating KansasCity.com.

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