I sometimes miss this life. The newsroom life I left in 2005.
Fact: Veteran newsman Aaron Brown was slated to start a show to premiere January 2002 called, NewsNight with Aaron Brown. Show staff were in the process of being hired (including me) on September 11, 2001. That day, instead, became Aaron Brown’s first day on the job in which, according to NPR, he would report the news for 17 hours straight. I have no idea if that’s accurate, since I, among hundreds of my colleagues were running around like chickens with our heads cut off just trying to keep up and make sense of the story unfolding on the video feeds around us. Working in the CNN newsroom on September 11, and the days, weeks, and months that followed, was incredibly difficult—the raw footage and images coming into the network haunt me to this day.
My time on the NewsNight staff, which began January 2002, included some of the best work I’ve ever done in my career. I don’t miss it enough to go back. But, damn if this show and this show don’t make me a bit nostalgic for those days, and days like today certainly bring it all back.
An aside, the Maggie character on The Newsroom is completely ridiculous. Everything is state of the union with this girl. That’s what I call conversations that should realistically be about a sentence and end up being five hours long. The only thing that’s marginally believable in this show is that every single one of their personal lives gets interrupted with breaking news. My friend, Michel (who is in the news biz) said it best with a retweet from a Reuters editor, “I look forward to the episode of The Newsroom where they spend 3 hours doing expense reports.” Me too, my friend, because that’s the reality.
To me, September 11 always seems like a day of reflection. What was lost, how our lives have changed since, and where we’re headed. But, usually, in all honesty, ever since September 11, 2001, I don’t turn on the television.
Image: Courtesy of CNN/Turner Broadcasting