Self-Study Unit 4: The First 24 Hours

Here are some examples of stories that were written soon after a traumatic event. Read this articles to get a sense for what a journalist has to go through after a major catastrophe to write a story for the next day's news.

Airliner Crash Kills All Aboard

A passenger jet crashes into a New York neighborhood, killing all 260 passengers and at least six people on the ground. The crash comes two months after planes were crashed into the World Trade Center, adding a certain urgency and emphasis on security to the reporting of the crash. Witnesses, some of whom were in houses or cars struck by debris from the plane, are interviewed. A woman walking her dog paints a picture of the scene. "Oh, God, it was so horrible," said Eileen Dolan, who was headed home after walking her dog on the beach. "There were flames. There were flames coming out of the plane, and then it fell."

260 Killed in Commercial Jet Crash Off Rockaways
by Beth Holland, Newsday
November 12, 2001
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Close Cousins Killed When Scaffolding Falls on Their Car
Two cousins were killed and their mothers were injured when scaffolding from a skyscraper crashed onto their car while they waited at an intersection. A pair of reporters wrote the story based on interviews with family members and witnesses to create a detailed portrait of the young women who also were best friends. Elycce Hanna, a witness to the crash, said, "The young girl driving, she smiled and made the motion with her hand to go ahead," Hanna said. "I smiled at her and just went across the street." Moments later the scaffolding crashed onto the car.

So close, they were like sisters
by Sean D. Hamill and Tom McCann, Chicago Tribune
March 11, 2002
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Entrepreneur Killed in His Own Neighborhood
A neighborhood merchant is shot to death during a robbery in his shop. Known affectionately by neighborhood kids as the "sneaker man,' Solomon Sacks opened his shop only four years earlier. Neighborhood residents offer insight into his life while police officials are said to still be in pursuit of the gunmen. The robbery is the fourth in the neighborhood in the last decade in which a shop owner or community leader was killed.

'Sneaker Man' Shot to Death While Struggling with Robber
by William Bunch
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Elementary School Students Struck Outside School When a Car Jumps a Curb
A car strikes two girls, 7 and 6, when it jumps a curb while they are waiting outside a school to go home. One girl is killed at the scene. Theother child dies later that day at a hospital. Students and parents arriving to pick up their children witness the accident. Reporters talk to witnesses, including the father of one of the girls who died, and police as well as explain an ongoing concern about the congested pickup and drop-off area where the accident happened. Poignant details include a description of one of the girls as having "short black hair and big round cheeks, loved cooking scrambled eggs and studying."

2 Girls Killed as Car Jumps Curb at School

by Daniel Yi, David Haldane and Kimi Yoshino

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