My Sunday Night at Ground Zero

What a week. For the first time in its 88-year history, TIME closed three magazine issues in the space of a week (including two special issues on a royal wedding and a recent incident in Pakistan). The multimedia team did several pieces to complement the reporting for the iPad tablet and Yesterday, we had our highest number of views ever for a single day, mostly for this animation of U.S. government’s account of the events that led to the death of  Osama bin Laden.

The night that happened (last Sunday), I was nearly ready for bed and sprawled on the sofa watching Game of Thrones on HBO, when I got an email saying there was going to be a presidential announcement and that it was likely about OBL. Before the president spoke, I got dressed and assembled the cameras I had in the house (my palm-sized HDV camera and the brand-spanking-new DSLR Canon). After the president finished his address, I headed out to join the growing crowd at Ground Zero in Manhattan. What I discovered there — even on the subway ride to the site — was a certain amount of frat-party revelry. There were chants and yelps and screams of U.S.A.! U.S.A.!, and the obligatory snippet of the Team America theme song (“Eff-Yeah!”). But I avoided the people wrapped in flags who were orbited by dozens of other media and sought out the less-obvious voices in the crowd. Here’s the result:

While I was there, so was photographer Lauren Fleishman, shooting for TIME with reporter Kayla Webley and photo editor Paul Moakley, who recorded audio interviews with various young revelers crowding the corner of Church and Vesey Streets. This week, Paul and I edited together a multimedia piece, with his audio (and a little bit of mine) paired with Lauren’s beautifully crafted black and white images from the night. That piece is here:


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