The following selection of newspaper articles from the time of the accident is presented primarily to engender some inkling of what their readers were going through. People were shocked that such an accident could ever have occurred. Most people had never thought about it before, and most of the ones that had considered the possibility had confidently concluded that two huge airliners, flying in broad daylight and in the clear, would be so conspicuous that their crews could hardly fail to see each other, and would simply veer off their courses slightly if it appeared that there was any danger.
Along with their initial and underlying, enduring shock, most people were stunned, appalled, horrified, and grief-stricken. Nearly everyone reverently felt great sorrow for the victims and their families.
The terrible wrong of it all also elicited desperate reactions like alarm, and the helpless urge to immediately do something, anything, to help. Most people were swimming in a morass of all of these emotions, all of which taken together were profoundly confusing. Confusion became one of the predominant themes in people's hearts and minds in the early days following the disaster.
The journalists and reporters who had been assigned to cover the story, or who had volunteered or requested, were reeling in the same emotional current as everyone else, except, possibly, at the high end of it ~ less confused and more sure than most, because of their more intimate involvement. Or so it would seem. They were also on a different level of acting on the urge to do something about what had happened: namely, the drive to promptly report the news as it unfolded daily. It was their job to disseminate the facts, and some of them did well at this, and some did poorly, giving in to the temptation to hastily write their articles. The ones who retained the greatest measure of composure in that awful circumstance were the ones that tended to write the most accurate, meaningful articles, while the ones that felt the stirrings of fervor, of rushing to be the first to write of a particular development, tended to promulgate errors and to commit other types of blunders. Some of them exaggerated or distorted what they wrote and wantonly forged ahead without any carefulness; in some cases they even wrote wrongfully defamatory stories, harming the reputations of crew members or of officials who were contending with the aftermath. And perhaps worst of all, the articles that defamed or blamed crew members cruelly hurt their families,who were already suffering monumentally.
All of this created a mix of emotions and beliefs in the public, and became a turmoil in which the average person had to try sorting out truth from error. We offer a few of these articles, both the good ones and the bad ones, to help people nowadays feel what that must have been like.
(We apologize for so few articles being here so far, and we promise to publish more soon; we felt that we had reached a place where the website had enough substance to merit opening, and so we did that without quite being finished. We also recognize that even though this website may fall by the wayside someday, it will never be finished, because there will always be more to say and new people to say it.)