In the days after September 11, magazine editors had a tough question on their hands: how would they address the devastating attacks in the pages of their publications, and on the covers?
Magazine covers had the task of capturing the national mood, according to Sid Holt, the chief executive of the American Society of Magazine Editors. To commemorate the tenth anniversary, Holt has spearheaded a project to compile close to 100 magazine covers about 9/11. The full gallery will be online on Sept. 8.
The collection, which was put together by ASME and the Association of Magazine Media, contains 9/11 magazine covers spanning ten years, from the attacks right up to the tenth anniversary this week. Holt told The Huffington Post that there was "no strict criteria" for which covers to include. Rather, he wanted to show the variety of ways that magazines addressed the attacks. The compilation draws from weekly news magazines and monthly publications like Sports Illustrated, Vanity Fair and MAD Magazine.
Holt—who was editing Adweek at the time of the attacks—called the covers "a kind of American iconography."
"When you look at the covers, it immediately brings back that sense of where were you and what were you doing then and since then," he said. Indeed, magazine covers have become some of the most iconic images of the experience, from the man on the cover of Fortune who became a face of the tragedy to Art Spiegelman's famous New Yorker cover.
By including the covers that have commemorated 9/11 in the ten years since the attacks, Holt also believes that the collection presents a timeline of sorts, recording the country’s immediate reaction to the attacks and how those feelings changed in the years following them. Holt recalled, “In the days immediately following the event, the covers expressed such a sense of shock.” As examples, he pointed to weekly news magazines like Time and People whose covers showed the Twin Towers burning.
He said that the covers have adopted a “much more contemplative approach to how the attacks changed the country” since then, citing cover stories that have explored the lives of 9/11 survivors, family members and first responders, and the political and economic consequences of the attacks.
Below, see a small sample of the covers that ASME chose. The full gallery will be available on Sept. 8 on the ASME website.