Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Day the Presses Nearly Stopped

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Day the Presses Nearly Stopped

Article excerpt


The Wall Street Journal's offices were shattered in last week's attack.

James Langton reports

JIM Pensiero, the assistant managing editor of The Wall Street Journal, was hard at work on the newspaper's budget last Tuesday when the phone rang. It was his wife. "She called to say that a plane had hit the World Trade Center,'' he recalls.

Even though the newspaper's offices are in the shadow of the twin towers, Mr Pensiero had heard nothing. From that moment on, his day became one of chaotic flight, followed by the grim news that several of his senior editors were missing.

As its title proclaims, The Wall Street Journal is the house paper for the world's biggest financial district. Only minutes after Mr Pensiero rushed to the window to gaze up at what he calls "a horrible scene'', plans to switch production to an emergency newsroom at the print works many miles away in New Jersey were being made.

Even before the second plane hit, Paul Steiger, the managing editor and head of the newsroom, decided to run the next day's headline across all six columns of the front page - something done only twice before, for Pearl Harbor and the Gulf War.

In the first hours, the carefully-laid emergency plans were second to survival.

The impact of the second aircraft rocked the building and the order was given to evacuate. Mr Pensiero was the last to leave, propelled from his desk by a security guard. Just before he left he sent an email to editorial staff asking them to report to New Jersey. When he reached the emergency newsroom 17 miles away, Mr Pensiero discoved he was the most senior journalist there.

Paul Steiger and four other assistant editors could not be found. No one knew if they were alive or dead.

Trying to set aside their worst fears, the remaining journalists set about preparing the most important edition the paper had ever produced. …

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