Terrorism

Copyright: John Frost Newspapers

The newspaper: The Daily Telegraph

The date: September 12, 2001

The news event: Terrorist attacks on New York and Washington

What you see: A frightening, stunning image of the giant World Trade Centres in New York soon after two planes controlled by terrorists crashed into the side of the buildings. Giant plumes of smoke billow up from the top of the buildings, while fire rages a few floors below. Meanwhile millions of fragments of glass, concrete and other New York, the world's most photogenic city, there were many opportunities to capture shocking and powerful photographs.

Background: For the United States and the rest of the Western world, terrorism was nothing new. Problems in Northern Ireland and in the Middle East, had led to numerous terrorist attacks in recent decades. But terrorism rarely hit within America itself. The last thing most Americans expected in September 2001 was an attack within their own country. It was a horrific terrorist act - almost 3000 people died, including 319 New York firemen. Immediately America launched what amounted to an all-out 'war on terrorism,' directed especially against the terrorist group, Al Qaeda, led by Osama Bin Laden. This was because Al Qaeda had claimed responsibility for the attacks.

Since September 11th, George Bush and Tony Blair have waged war on Iraq - a move seen by many as a macho show of power, a misplaced revenge attack against a country that was not involved in the twin tower attacks. As a result of this war, tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians have been killed. Many believe that the war on Iraq has fuelled anti-Western feeling and, in doing so, has increased support for extremist organisations.

The front page: The day after the twin towers were attacked, all national newspapers cleared their front pages, illustrating this shocking story with dramatic images. Inside pages were packed with further reports and photographs. This is a sinister front page. The headline is extremely dramatic. It immediately classifies the event as a 'war', differentiating it from a normal terrorist attack and, in some ways, anticipating the vengeful action taken by George W. Bush. The picture seems to be straight out of a disaster movie. The imagery is now iconic, shattered skyscrapers, crumbling city, destruction at the heart of American economic life - at the time, the image suggested the end of the world as we knew it.

Design: These kinds of events are often the easiest front pages to design, as so many dramatic images are available. On top of this, many thousands of eye-witnesses provided first hand accounts of events. For this reason, editors had no shortage of words to fill their pages. Here, the image was prepared and the headline, 'War on America,' was written in a very large point size. The only major decision in terms of design was how deep to run the picture and how many words to carry on the front page.