'The acrid stench of death and destruction'

 Big Apple agency reporter Mark Coleman and freelance photographer John Chapple were among the first journalists to be admitted to Ground Zero.

Coleman said: "The first thing to  hit us as the ambulance doors opened was the smell, the nauseating acrid stench of death and destruction. John and I felt ashamed to be there, looking on when all around us people were exhausted.

"We felt embarrassed, uncomfortable and impotent in a situation when everyone else was working so hard to help in any way they could.

"Careful to avoid getting in the way of the rescuers, we kept a low profile. But they needed to talk. They wanted to tell us what they had experienced. It seemed cathartic for them to relive the horrors of the previous days."

The Times’s New York correspondent, James Bone, who lives in downtown New York, ran through the city to get to the scene of the disaster. "Unlike most New York correspondents these days, I live in the heart of the city and was able to run against the fleeing crowds towards to towering inferno within minutes of the first impact," he said.

"Even though it is possible to get a good view on TV because of cameras telephoto lenses, such epic events should be eye-balled in person to get genuine reportage.

"Although I have covered numerous wars and seen combat in Afghanistan, that Tuesday was the most extraordinary story in the amount of heart-stopping detail available on the surrounding streets."

The whole focus of reporting America will now change,  Bone believes.

"The New York beat changed in the split second since the plane crashed. In future, I predict, the traditional light America celebrity fare will be written more out of Los Angeles, while New York reporters focus on the aftermath and investigation. Readers will find it bad taste to tease ‘fat-fingered vulgarian’  Donald Trump while the city is still hurting."

By Jon Slattery

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