Reading feels suffering of US namesake

 Reading, Berks, got to know how Reading, Berks County, Pennsylvania, was feeling after the US terrorist attack when journalists from the two towns contacted each other.

Hilary Scott, assistant editor of the UK’s Reading Evening Post, telephoned John Forester, assignment editor of the Reading Times in the US.

Scott discovered its citizens are shaken and hurting. Their children were terrified when a fire broke out in a silk factory because they thought their home town was under attack.

They can’t get enough of the information the Times is putting out – the paper is selling 30,000 more copies a day than its normal 70,000 – but they baulked at a front-page picture of Osama bin Laden.

Forester told Scott: "The people of Reading hated it. They just didn’t want to see that man’s face and many of them told us they just couldn’t bear to have a picture of him in their home."

And they have told the Times they don’t want to see pictures of people falling from the stricken Trade Center towers in their local paper either.

"As a newspaper, we had to print images of horror and we got complaints," said Forester. "But people have to remember that we didn’t perpetrate the deed behind the image. You should never shoot the messenger."

The Times now waits for confirmation of how many of the city’s people were victims.

By Jean Morgan

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