Times change, but we are still bringing you the news - Susan Dalgety

It’s 22 years today since Osama bin Laden declared war on the United States when a group of terrorists smashed two planes into New York’s twin towers, killing thousands of people.

The world changed forever that sunny September morning, but as we stood aghast in the Evening News newsroom and watched the second plane hit the south tower, and heard reports of a plane heading towards the Pentagon, we knew that something terrible was unfolding.

In those days, the Evening News had three editions each day, and we were about to send the final one off to the printers when the terrorists struck. Under the leadership of the-then editor, John McLellan – now a fellow Evening News columnist – we delayed the deadline so we could bring Edinburgh the news story as it unfolded.

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I have never worked so quickly in my life, or with such foreboding, because we all knew that we were writing the first draft of a terrible history. And so it proved.

The Iraq war, the ‘Great Crash’ of 2008, Brexit and the pandemic have all contributed to a less secure, more frightening world than the one we enjoyed in the 1990s. And it’s not just global politics that have changed in the two decades since 9/11.

Newspapers have changed too, beyond recognition in many ways. Newsrooms which used to be noisy, busy places, with scores of people scurrying about or intent at their desks, are now much quieter, with far fewer journalists and production staff, and many people working from home.

And the generation born after 9/11 are not natural newspaper readers. They pick up their news from social media, or don’t bother at all, believing most of it to be fake.

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But newspapers still play an important role in all our lives. They are a trusted source of news, and 150 years after it first hit the capital’s streets, the Evening News has just unveiled a brilliant new look.

I love it, but no matter what design innovations the News’s talented team dream up, the core purpose of the paper remains: to tell the people of Edinburgh what is going on here in our wonderful city, and across the world, as it happens. Just as it did on 11 September 2001 and continues to do today.

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