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Sunday, September 11, 2011

Attacks only subject online

EDITOR’S NOTE: This story originally ran Sept. 12, 2001.

The attacks that hit New York and Washington on Tuesday were so shocking that they appeared to unify even the fragmented world of the Internet.

The news quickly dominated the online world, although the crush of people seeking information was so great that by 11 a.m. the search engine Google carried this announcement: “If you are looking for news, you will find the most current information on TV or radio. Many online news services are not available, because of extremely high demand.”

Most New Hampshire newspapers and television stations that provide news on the Web quickly and regularly updated their sites with the news – even those, like The Telegraph, which usually only change their Web site once a day.

By mid-morning The Telegraph’s site had numerous stories and pictures, headlined “Day of Horror.” Local stories being prepared for the following day’s newspaper were included as the day went on, which is not the site’s usual practice.

Many other state papers did the same. The Portsmouth Herald included streaming video of downtown New York from MSNBC with its coverage. Foster’s Daily Democrat asked to hear from any local residents with eyewitness accounts or other news.

WMUR-TV’s Web site also had numerous stories and video about the attacks throughout the day. WNDS-TV does not put news on its Web site.

Stories and pictures about the attack also dominated, a site run by The Boston Globe that is usually heavy on entertainment and features.

Similarly,, a sister site of the Telegraph that usually carries only light photos and light features, included a photograph of Rivier College chaplain Brother Paul Demers leading an afternoon prayer service under the headline “NH responds to terror attack.”

The news also dominated Web sites from news outlets from around the world. Specialty sites, however, sometimes put their own twist on the news.

For example, Slashdot, a favorite among certain types of computer programmers, chased down a report that the head of a prominent Internet-related firm was on one of the crashed airplanes, while, a site devoted to covering space exploration, quickly examined the role that spy satellites might play in assigning blame and reported that the plume of smoke from the World Trade Center could be seen aboard the International Space Station.