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'Covering Catastrophe'

As the events of Sept. 11 unfolded, many journalists unexpectedly found themselves covering the biggest story of their lives.

Reflections by over 130 broadcast journalists on what they saw and felt that day have been gathered in a new book, "Covering Catastrophe." Allison Gilbert, a producer for WNBC-TV, and Mitchell Stephens, a New York University journalism professor, are two of the book's editors. They visit The Early Show on Thursday to talk about it.

Gilbert and Stephens collected the first-hand testimonials along with Phil Hirschkorn of CNN, Melinda Murphy of WB-11 and Robyn Walensky of AP Radio.

Among the journalists included in the book are:

  • NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw
  • ABC News anchor Peter Jennings
  • CBS News anchor Dan Rather
  • CNN host Larry King
  • CNN anchors Aaron Brown and Judy Woodruff
  • Fox News Channel anchor Jon Scott
  • MSNBC anchor/correspondent Ashleigh Banfield
  • NPR's Bob Edwards and Linda Wertheimer
  • From the Pentagon: correspondents David Martin (CBS News), Jamie McIntyre (CNN), John McWethy (ABC News), and Jim Miklaszewski (NBC News)
  • ABC News correspondent Ann Compton, the only broadcast journalist aboard Air Force One on September 11
  • Helicopter reporters John Del Giorno and Tom Kaminski, and cameraman Chet Wilson, who were in the air over Lower Manhattan during the crisis
  • New York 1 reporter Andrew Kirtzman, who was with Mayor Rudolph Giuliani in the aftermath of the attacks.
  • All royalties from the sales of "Covering Catastrophe" and a matching contribution from the publisher, will be donated to:

  • The Citigroup Relief Fund, which will provide scholarships to children of the victims of the September 11 attacks.
  • The Society of Broadcast Engineers Relief Fund, which benefits the families of the broadcast engineers killed in the World Trade Center attack.

  • About Allison Gilbert:

    Since September of 2000, Gilbert has been an investigative producer for WNBC-TV in New York. Prior to joining WNBC-TV, she was an investigative producer for WWOR-TV, the UPN 9 News I-Team. Before that, Gilbert was part of the original launch team from MSNBC. She began there as a writer and was soon promoted to segment producer. Previous to MSNBC, Ms. Gilbert worked fro WPIX as a writer and then a producer of the "News at 10", supervising all aspects of newsroom reporting from editorial content to technical production. She began her career working for ABC News, then served on the start-up team for New York 1 News, New York's first 24-hour all news channel.

    Gilbert received an Emmy nomination for a multi-part investigative series called "Beyond Four Walls." The series uncovered cases of domestic violence during which unrelated bystanders were injured or killer. Her investigative work has also been honored by The National Association of Black Journalists and the Society of Professional Journalists. She currently lives in New Jersey with her husband and son.

    About Mitchell Stephens:

    Stephens is a professor of Journalism and Mass Communication at New York University. He chaired the department for six years. He is the author of "The Rise of the Image of the Fall of The Word," which uses the history of earlier communications revolutions in an attempt to better understand our own. His book "A History of News," has been translated into four languages and was a New York Times "Notable Book of the Year."

    Stephens is also the author of the most widely used television and radio journalism textbook, "Broadcast News" and co-author of a newspaper textbook, "Writing and Reporting the News."

    Stephens lives in Alpine, New Jersey, with his wife and three children. Unlike the other editors of "Covering Catastrophe", he was home on September 11 watching television and listening to the radio.

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