Five of AMERICA FIGHTS BACK, Thoughts....
As journalists we go out and get the stories -- the facts. The
attacks on New York and Washington, DC have had many of us thinking
Learn about the industry from professionals working in it! Read
"From The Field" for the latest happenings in the
Now, radio and television journalists from all over share their
feelings. If you'd like to share your thoughts send them to
Off Your Atlas
By Nancy LeMay
When the Soviet Union became unglued in 1990, I was working
on the Today Show in New York. For weeks on end, we would be
searching atlases, in the dark at 2 and 3 AM, for the newly
emerging nations declaring independence. Places we'd never heard
of- Uzbekistan, Tajikistan-had to be found so we could make
them into maps for TV. No easy task; these nations often had
borders that were disputed, so we carefully scoured the map
to pick the dotted lines out from the complex topography.
A memorable time when we became acquainted with some of the
most obscure spots on earth. We are using our atlases again,
and if you haven't really spent time with a good atlas lately,
hightail it to your local bookstore and look over the selection.
There are many choices now, based on new ways of presenting
information, that did not exist when we were in school. Atlases
containing illustrated charts of the progress of civilization,
the great inventions, the Seven Wonders of the World, and the
like, are great for home use if you have school age kids. Satellite
imaging has helped refine the maps that show topography- the
mountains, valleys, fjords, and steppes of our world.
Forgot what a steppe is? Why not look it up... When we work
with an atlas, we often focus on the large, detailed maps of
individual countries. These form the bulk of the pages in the
book. But there are also other pages that we often ignore, but
they are worth studying. Maps showing where languages are spoken,
where natural resources are concentrated, or those that show
weather patterns, are informative and especially useful at a
time like this. They'll show you where people have gathered;
why did they want to be there?
Or, the other side of this same question, they reveal the limits,
made by the land and by politics and language, which help power
events. Take a look at landlocked Afghanistan; a rocky and arid
country scoured for months at a time by sirocco winds, having
few lakes and little forest. Your atlas will show you these
basic facts, help you form your un derstanding, and help you
formulate more questions. Maps are, of course, also available
on the internet, and the network news sites are brimming with
them right now.
They are useful, and a great resource to help appreciate the
scope of our actions in Afghanistan. I've made literally thousands
of maps for news, sports and even entertainment specials. But
I still urge you to own a good atlas- the biggest and best you
can afford. Being able to sit, study and compare, say, a political
map of central Asia with a map showing mineral resources, or
population distribution, or the size and position of Iran- this
is essential information right now. The border conflict over
Kashmir is suddenly important again- can you find Kashmir on
a map? We need to be informed about geography in a level of
detail we haven't needed since the Gulf War. Time to get to
know the world, in all it's fascinating and challenging detail,
We first heard from Bruce Brodoff the week after
the attack on the World Trade Center. If you missed
it, that first article can be found in our archives.
Now Bruce, a longtime friend of mine, tells us what
life has been like since we last heard from him.
FYI: Bruce has worked for the Giuliani administration
holding the following jobs: 1997-1999: Director
of Public and Intergovernmental Affairs, Mayor's
Office of Emergency Management/1999-Present and
Vice President, Public Affairs and Corporate Communications,
New York City Economic Development Corporation --
He's dealt extensively with the media. I think you'll
be amazed by the press release Bruce shares with
us in his thoughts.
BY Bruce Brodoff
The past few weeks have been extraordinary time to be a New
Yorker and to work for the Giuliani Administration. A few days
after the disaster I was summoned to work at the Joint Information
Center that was created within the emergency command center
complex on the west side of Manhattan (housed in a Passenger
Ship Terminal along the Hudson River).
This command center was at least as big as a football field
and contained the Mayor's temporary offices, a press area where
the Mayor conducted his press briefings, and the massive area
where dozens of City, State, and Federal agencies coordinated
the rescue operation. Hundreds of uniformed personnel and civilians
worked in tandem, ordering and deploying equipment and manpower,
using sophisticated equipment to try to trace cell phone signals
within the wreckage or create detailed maps of the devastated
area, creating emergency relief programs for affected businesses
and individuals, and informing the media and general public.
To accommodate these workers, scores of cots were set up in
a private area, and the Red Cross served thousands of meals,
snacks, and hygiene products around the clock. During the first
three weeks of the disaster a Navy Hospital Ship, the USN COMFORT,
was docked next to the Pier and offered meals, sleeping quarters,
and clothing to any relief workers who needed a meal, some sleep,
clean clothes, or a shower.
I spent one unforgettable night aboard the ship; the memories
of walking up the gangplank past M-16 toting soldiers, checking
in at the registration desk that was set up in one of the ship's
many operating/recovery areas, passing the "Burn Unit ICU" on
my way to my room, and grabbing breakfast in the mess hall while
watching the latest news reports on the attack are seared into
my brain.... (The USN Comfort eventually departed for an unknown
destination. Since the ship saw action during the Gulf War,
I'm assuming it is somewhere close to the action.
I pray that the ship's 1,000 beds remain empty during the coming
months.......) The pier next to the Emergency Command Center
housed the Family Assistance Center, another massive facility
that focused directly on the families of the victims and those
who lost their jobs or homes due to the disaster. Numerous agencies
and organizations offered financial assistance, mental health
and spiritual counseling, food, a place to rest, free internet
and phone service, first aid, child care, etc. I saw enough
suffering at this center to last ten lifetimes....
Along the sidewalk leading to the center was a makeshift memorial
to the victims that featured hundreds of the "MISSING" fliers
that family members created and posted.
Seeing the pictures of the happy people, some holding their
children or other loved ones, completely unaware at the time
the picture was taken that this would be the photo used in connection
with their horrific death, was too much to bear. Reading hand-scrawled
messages like "DADDY, PLEASE COME HOME; WE MISS YOU", or "SUSAN,
YOU SAID FOREVER" just twisted the knife that was already in
These individual pictures and stories turn the death toll from
an abstract number -- "5,000 dead" -- into reality. EVERYBODY
here knows someone who was affected.
One of my co-workers got married in August to a woman who worked
on the 70th Floor of the North Tower; He was a widower just
weeks after tying the knot..... Security at the emergency command
center was tight; police officers and soldiers roamed the area,
their fingers on the trigger of the automatic weapons draped
over their shoulders.
Special photo I.D.'s were needed for access, and even then you
had to set down whatever bags you were carrying so police dogs
could give them a once-over. The Joint Information Center consisted
of about seven or eight PIO's assembled from various City agencies,
the Red Cross and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
Hundreds of calls were processed everyday, from journalists,
news organizations, and people from all around the world.
Most wanted the same thing: access to ground zero and the landfill
where the debris is being processed, interviews with the Mayor,
the latest statistics on the number of missing and dead, the
amount of debris removed and remaining, the economic impact
this disaster is having on NYC. Access to ground zero was only
by pool coverage, and the landfill was -- and is - completely
off limits. Most info we released was based on the information
we compiled before and during the press briefings the Mayor
conducted several times a day.
I had the opportunity to attend these press conferences --many
featured top national and international politicians -- and watch
history unfold before my eyes. (Visitors to the Command Center
included Elton John, President Bill Clinton and Muhammad Ali)
I must admit that I started to lose my patience with the media
after a couple of weeks. Perhaps it was the long hours in the
bustling command center, the repetitive requests, the obsession
with the latest figures of the dead and missing, the sometimes
STUPID or inappropriate questions or requests, the combination
of working hard while trying to deal with my own emotions, being
displaced from my home (which was right across the street from
the World Trade Center), and the steady diet of Red Cross meals;
No matter how much one wants to contribute during a time of
crisis, this isn't the kind of work that can be done for weeks
on end without needing a break....
The Monday after the disaster I got a police escort down to
ground zero so I could retrieve some things from my apartment
(which is right across the street from the WTC). Being in the
back of a police car heading south on the West Side Highway
was an experience I'll never forget.
The City set up a special traffic lane for emergency vehicles,
so we had this lane to ourselves and sped past the usual heavy
flow of traffic until 34th Street. This traffic was diverted
east at 34th Street, so for the rest of the way we had the entire
West Side highway to ourselves. At every intersection were crowds
of people behind police barricades, cheering, waving, applauding,
and holding up signs that said things like "God Bless", "Thank
You", and "We Love You." Their extraordinary outpouring of emotion
was met with appreciative "whoop whoops" from the police car's
siren.... The rest of the trip towards ground zero was surreal.
Once familiar neighborhoods were now staging areas for the City's
emergency services, the military, the Red Cross, and the international
media. Countless numbers of construction equipment, ambulances,
military vehicles, satellite TV trucks, and pallets of medical
supplies, food, water, and other goods lined the streets for
miles. The sky darkened as we approached the site, due to the
setting sun and the dark smoke that still hung in the downtown
We finally worked our way into my apartment complex after passing
through several military checkpoints along Broadway. The streets
west of Broadway were by now fenced off and guarded by police
officers and soldiers in full combat gear. As we passed these
streets I was able to see for the first time sickening and appalling
glimpses of the devastation.
As we entered Battery Park City it became obvious that what
was a fashionable and somewhat exclusive neighborhood before
September 11th was now a war zone. (This link will take you
to a picture of one of the buildings in my apartment complex,
the one that directly faces the WTC:
The circular driveway that formed the centerpiece of my apartment
complex was filled with dust and debris. The once lively complex
was now eerily deserted. I was allowed to enter my building
only after signing a form that confirmed my understanding that
by entering this building I would be subjected to all sorts
of danger (possible broken glass and other debris, darkened
hallways, toxic air. (I was prepared for the toxic air, having
grabbed an industrial strength gas mask at the command center).
Signing the form of course released my landlord from any liability
if I was injured or killed during my time on the property. Passing
the elevator, I read a notice posted by the FBI that had pictures
of what an airline black box looks like, just in case we happened
to stumble upon one during our travels...... The electricity
in the building was out, but the stairwells had emergency lighting.
I climbed the four flights to my apartment, followed by the
weird shadows the lamps threw upon the walls. I finally reached
my darkened hallway and stood at my door, not sure if I wanted
to see what was on the other side. There were plenty of stories
(most confirmed) about people entering their apartments and
finding parts of buildings, planes, and people. I took a deep
breath of filtered air and turned the key.
I opened my windows wide that morning before I went to work
and wouldn't have been surprised if I walked into ash piled
chest-high. While the damage to my apartment was minimal compared
to what it could have been, there was a thick layer of ash over
EVERYTHING. While stuffing clothes into a duffel bag, I absent-mindedly
threw the bag on my bed and watched a plume of ash rise from
It pained me to think about what that ash consisted of... I'm
still displaced from my apartment, even though my landlord officially
opened my building on Saturday, October 13th (the only building
out of six in my complex to open). I went to check things out
and the area is completely inhospitable -- the smell from the
fires still burning across the street was HELLACIOUS on Saturday
afternoon, but it does depend on which way the wind blows --
sometimes you don't smell a thing in Battery Park City while
at the same time people in midtown are gagging from the smell....
Even though my landlord opened the building, a Federal Emergency
Management Agency inspector deemed it "uninhabitable" when he
inspected my apartment a few weeks ago. The conditions that
deemed it uninhabitable (primarily regarding restricted access
that could hinder fire trucks and ambulances getting to the
neighborhood in case of emergency) are obviously still there....
I'm staying at my brother's place while he's in Florida, and
will be moving to a furnished corporate apartment for a couple
of months by the end of the week. My apartment lease expires
at the end of February, so I have to figure out what to do....
Things are just getting crazier here, especially with the anthrax
situation. Anthrax in New York??!! It was just a few years ago
that I wrote this press release (when I was with the Mayor's
Office of Emergency Management) regarding a training exercise
we conducted to test preparedness for a chemical attack:
PRESS OFFICE FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: November 9, 1997 Release #679-97
Contact: Colleen Roche (212) 788-2958, Curt Rifler (212) 788-2971,
Bruce Brodoff (212) 442-9260 (OEM)
CITY TO CONDUCT INTER-AGENCY CHEMICAL EXERCISE
Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani announced today Sunday, November 9,
New York City will conduct "Operation I.C.E.," an inter-agency
training exercise designed to prepare emergency responders for
the possibility of a terrorist attack. "Operation I.C.E. " consists
of three inter-related training events intended to measure a
different aspect of New York City's public safety system.
The centerpiece of "Operation I.C.E. "is FIELDEX, an elaborate
field exercise that will simulate a chemical attack on a large
public gathering. Today's operation was launched in lower Manhattan
bounded by Chambers Street to the South, Vestry Street to the
North, West Street to the West and Varick Street to the East.
Today's simulation will involve approximately 600 emergency
response professionals from the Police Department, Fire Department,
the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, and the Departments
of Environmental Protection, Health, and Transportation.
The Department of Defense and the Federal Bureau of Investigation
will also participate in this field exercise which is under
the direction of Jerome M. Hauer, Director of the Mayor's Office
of Emergency Management. "It is imperative that New York City
be prepared for every kind of disaster, including terrorists,"
said Mayor Giuliani. "Operation I.C.E."-- the culmination of
a year-long disaster preparedness project will help our emergency
responders prepare for any situation. Today's exercise is a
great example of inter-agency cooperation among City and Federal
agencies. I want to thank the emergency personnel and volunteers
who participated in today's exercise, their efforts today will
better protect and prepare our City and fellow New Yorkers."
It seemed like make-believe at the time......and we conducted
this drill just blocks north of the World Trade Center; in fact,
the college gym we used as a holding area for the "victims"
of the "attack" (volunteer high schools students) is now a real-life
emergency command center. It's hard to reconcile the memory
with the reality every time I drive past the gym.... I spent
part of Saturday and Sunday walking ALL over ground zero, in
and around the areas where the buildings once stood and looked
out over the main crater (the former public plaza that was between
the towers) -- holy shit, you wouldn't believe the destruction.
It is monumental -- I can't even picture the neighborhood as
it once was, and I live across the street from it! Every now
and then I was able to orient myself and figure out where I
was standing and what I was looking at.. I felt like Charlton
Heston at the end of Planet of the Apes, seeing the Statue of
Liberty and realizing where he was....it's like the most amazing
movie set ever created (especially at night, with the smoke
pouring out of the ground backlit by the giant emergency lights),
but the horror and death is way too real.....they pulled out
five more bodies just a few hours after I left the site yesterday....
I also watched city officials escort about 70 people who lost
loved ones in the attack to a just-built wooden platform that
overlooks the site.
These people, who were from all walks of life, clutched teddy
bears and flowers as they made their way past me to the observation
deck. The pain etched in their faces, and the tears streaming
down their cheeks, was unbearable to witness....... New York
City will eventually rebuild Lower Manhattan, and for most of
us the shock and pain will no doubt ease over time. I'll never
forget this dark period in history, but I'm glad I got to see
first-hand (and participate in) the efforts made by some of
the most amazing people I've ever met. From the government officials
and emergency personnel to the elderly volunteers handing out
bottled water to the young school children presenting emergency
workers with hand-made cards and letters, these people from
all walks of life really restored my faith in humanity.