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Networks, Papers Eye The Attack

America's television networks maintained an around-the-clock vigil to help the grief-stricken and the frightened come to terms with the horrific attack that demolished the World Trade Center and damaged the Pentagon.

Radio stations, like New York's all-sports WFAN, became all-news, while WCBS-FM abandoned rock 'n roll "oldies" to simulcast its sister station, WCBS-AM. All three stations, like, are part of the Viacom family.

"Much of the chaos of earlier in the day has disappeared, but the enormity of what has happened is seeping in to this city and the nation," CBS News Chief Correspondent Dan Rather said Tuesday night.

Newspapers put out special editions and broke out the extra-large type for banner headlines.

The country's largest television networks, CBS, NBC and ABC planned to give continuous coverage at least through Wednesday.

"I ran like hell," one survivor, his suit covered in soot, told CBS News. "Thank God, I'm 69, but I can still run."

Media outlets slowly and carefully began adding up the number of casualties, but it may take weeks for an accurate death toll, testing the patience of a nation accustomed to instant news.

Tuesday morning's images were replayed throughout the day and into Wednesday. Viewers watched a jumbo jetliner slicing the World Trade Center, the thick clouds of smoke and dust rising from a skyline forever changed from the landmark's collapse, before dazed and crying survivors overtook the city's streets on their walk from the tip of Manhattan.

The major networks suspended competition, agreeing to share all footage. But CNN insisted on hyping videophone images of a bombing in Afghanistan, an attack U.S. officials later insisted they had nothing to do with.

Tuesday night, printing presses worked overtime to hurriedly deliver explanations of the unexplainable for special newspaper editions. Newspapers nationwide put out extras. The Wall Street Journal evacuated its headquarters four blocks from the World Trade Center, but its staff worked either from a technical center in New Jersey or from home to put out Wednesday's edition.

In red ink, the News & Observer in Raleigh, N.C., headlined, "Terror Comes Home." USA Today's cover read, "Act of War." In the Washington Times slapped the word, "Infamy" atop a photo of the World Trade Center's north tower collapsing.

"This incident has shocked people," said Florida Times-Union editor Pat Yack, whose newspaper distributed an eight-page special edition less than four hours after the attack. "There's nothing in people's lifetimes, with the possible exception of Pearl Harbor and President (John F.) Kennedy's assassination that matches it."

But some of the pictures of destruction gave way to new ones Wednesday. Members of Congress stood on the Capitol steps, singing, "God bless America," an angry President Bush glared from the Oval Office and rescue workers bathed in spotlights tried to do heir jobs.

©MMI CBS Worldwide Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report

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