Internet Archive's cache of 24/7 TV footage from 9/11 and beyond

Rick Prelinger sez, "Internet Archive has launched 'Understanding 9/11: A Television News Archive,' an online library of 24/7 TV news broadcasts from 20 worldwide channels over the week starting 9/11/2001. Originally introduced on October 11, 2001, it's now back with a striking interface that shows 20 channels of each day's news on a single page, with framegrabs that link to streamable segments. TV is still the world's primary medium of information, entertainment and persuasion, but it isn't yet a medium of record. Most television gets saved in bits and pieces, if at all. 'Understanding 9/11' is designed to make television's 'eternal present' available to scholars, journalists and the public, not only to demonstrate how TV covered this story, but how it was also itself the story."
The 9/11 Television News Archive is a library of news coverage of the events of 9/11/2001 and their aftermath as presented by U.S. and international broadcasters. A resource for scholars, journalists, and the public, it presents one week of news broadcasts for study, research and analysis.

Television is our pre-eminent medium of information, entertainment and persuasion, but until now it has not been a medium of record. This Archive attempts to address this gap by making TV news coverage of this critical week in September 2001 available to those studying these events and their treatment in the media.

The events of September 11th, 2001 affected the entire world. (Thanks, Rick!)


  1. Interesting to note: CNN coverage of WABC coverage, as the second plane struck, live, and yet no one at CNN or WABC seemed to notice, even though it clearly occurred. The disconnect in “live” broadcasting is amazing.

  2. I just noticed that too (on BBC World Coverage), I haven’t had time to check the delay between second plane hitting live on camera and them first picking up on it.  It seems to be at least a couple of minutes.  I guess they’re all looking at notes, trying to gather interviews and so on.  I’m surprised the Cameraman didn’t pick up on it though.  I guess he just wasn’t expecting it and was concentrating on the fire etc.

    1. On the day we lost Challenger he was advising us that a clip was coming up, one showing the parents of Christa McCauliff. There was a delay and then he said, “We seem to have lost that clip. A good clip to lose in my opinion.” He said it calmly and sadly, and endeared himself to me forever.

  3. 10:28 am, CNN: “There are no words.” I was watching that, on a flat panel screen on someone’s office desk. through the window, between two buildings, it was possible to see the Towers in the distance from Midtown. I looked, there was the North Tower, I heard this on the TV, and looked back, to see smoke and empty sky. It was at that moment, that this all became real for me, as a haze of shock and disbelief was stripped way as easily as that massive structure took its leave of the sky and plunged in on itself, taking my innocence with it forever.

  4. Oh, boy! 9/11. The Day the “Freedom” Died. Mission Accomplished, Mr. Bin Laden! All security theater workers, kneel and give thanks. All citizen wiretappers, kneel and give thanks. All manufacturers of surveillance gear, kneel and give thanks. All of the folks who design and print “If You See Something, Say Something” and “Never Forget” propaganda, kneel and give thanks. All who have profited legitimately (or criminally) from providing “support” to the subsequent wars, kneel and give thanks. All Hail Terror! All Hail Fear!

      1. I’m actually a very sensitive person. I simply believe those who didn’t actually lose a family member/friend/loved one on that day really should put it to rest. The USA’s response to the act has caused inestimable damage in the ensuing decade. Time to stop perpetuating the pain.

  5. I listened to the ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, and FOX feeds for both plane crashes. Interestingly, the FOX newscaster was the first to interpret the event as a terrorist attack:

    “Oh my goodness there’s another one. Oh my goodness there’s another one. Oh my goodness, now you– now, it’s obvious, I think, that uh, there’s a second plane that crashed into the World Trade Center. I think we have a terrorist act of proportions that we cannot begin to imagine at this juncture”

  6. I used to work for a company that monitored TV and radio throughout the US, providing daily reports for corporate clients who needed to know how their business or products were being talked about. During the time I was there, they went increasingly digital, but originally they just had banks and banks of VCRs taping TV programs, with the tapes being wiped and re-used regularly. 

    On a shelf next to my desk were several big cardboard boxes full of tapes, marked ‘Sep 11-13 2001 – Do not wipe’. Someone had obviously realized that they had an important historical record, in the form of near-complete coverage of US news broadcasts from that day and the following days.

    I don’t know what happened to the tapes, but I hope that their contents get properly archived at some point.

    1. > On a shelf next to my desk were several big cardboard boxes full of tapes, marked ‘Sep 11-13 2001 – Do not wipe’.

      If you can get these to the Internet Archive, they’ll digitize them for you.

      1. Unfortunately, the company in question just filed for Chapter 7 liquidation. I don’t know what will happen to the stockpiled tapes, but I doubt anyone there is thinking about that just now.

  7. The day that our rulers made a power play for our freedoms and won.

    Not a month after the disaster the “Made in China” Rah Rah commemorative “never forget” license plates being shoved up my ass made America feel more and more uncomfortable. 

    The Absolut(tm) un-reflection and lack of introspection of it’s people gripped by mob-mentality became troubling. 

    “Freedom,” “Patriot,” “Hero,” all became ad campaigns and nationalist propaganda. The American Flag a giant cardboard poster of Mao or a bronze of Lenin.

    A few dead Muslims, a few futile wars, a few tra-jillion dollars later, if I had to fill out a scorecard, I’d say that we as a nation failed those victims and have shamed their memory.

      1. damn grimc, you hit that softball out of the park… but seriously.

        could this have been a peak behind the curtain in a wag the dog script?

        1. Could just have been a lot of information flying around in a high stress situation, and not actually a Tom Clancy novel*.

          *y’know, one of the good ones.

        2. Travis_67, if there was a secret plot to destroy WTC 7, why would they need to bring the BBC in on it ahead of time? Why not just destroy the building, then let the reporters hear about it normally? 

          1. Why indeed? Yet, there it is for us all to see. On yesterday’s Democracy Now, Brewster Kahle (founder of the Internet Archive) discussed this clip, said he took a lots of heat for releasing it after the BBC pulled their copy from the web. He went back and verified the timeline… it is 20 minutes early…. shouldn’t this be talked about?

          2. Everybody knew the building was going to collapse and the FDNY had said so publicly, they clearly just messed up. Why don’t you question other inaccuracies, like reports of bombings that didn’t happen. Oh because they don’t fit into your theories.  

  8. I wish I could see the second plane better at the 9:09 clip on CNN. I can see the tail fin, but the rest is obscured by the CNN banner on the bottom of the screen. By the announcer’s reaction, it sounds like they see more than we do. I haven’t seen that clip replayed much, maybe later over the next couple of days it was played more. 

    I want to see if there is more detail on the side of the plane. 

  9. Several years after 9/11, I was getting a tour of a major television network with one of their head IT guys, and as he was showing us around behind the scenes, we passed a large room where the raw feeds came in, before they went on the air. I was fascinated with it and I wanted to look in the big windows, but he just kept walking. I stopped him and asked him about it, and he explained the room, then added that after 9/11, he never wanted to see raw, unedited live feeds again.

    I wonder if any of the networks saved any of that raw feed footage, purely from a historical context.

    1. The raw footage is almost to painful to watch, at least for me but heaps of it is available online. this is edited but its one persons collection of what he filmed overlayed with 911 calls.

  10. 17 days and counting, before the 10 year reunion. I’m only a little bit afraid of a reprise, mostly I fear we’ll numbly move along and try not to remember what has been lost in those 10 years.

     On the other hand, fear is also a choice.It’s never too late to choose different.

  11. It seems I remember that early broadcasts showed people in desperation jumping to their deaths out of the windows.  These were mercifully never replayed in later rebroadcasts.  How horrendous the choice: burn to death or die on hard pavement.

  12. I wish someone had archived television on September 10th, I’d really like to see that for context.

  13. I still can’t believe I spent that whole day in school not knowing what was really going on until I came home. My father was home from work watching the footage.

  14. I’m going on a media blackout on the 8th and trying to not go back until the 13th or so. Online i;ll handle in small doses but the other media will be full of the usual idiocy and promos for more idiocy so i’m skipping altogether.


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