Diane Sawyer’s Ground Zero Tenaciousness

09.11.09 Bucky Turco

So it’s 8:45 p.m. or so, the night of 9/11, and Diane Sawyer taps me on the shoulder. I’m standing in front of Pace University, and I guess she saw the shitty camcorder I’m holding. Diane asks me to join her film crew; there’s evidently a “media blackout” around Ground Zero, and they need some guerrilla camera work. They give me a paper towel roll to conceal the camera, and I tuck it under my arm and basically shoot from the hip.

At the scene, she and her “crew” in scrubs start handing out water, paper towels, and face shields to emergency workers as a distraction. One of the crew is carrying my rollerblades. I’m walking around in rollerblade booties.

“Do your best,” Diane tells me. “I’m walking away to distract attention from you. Just keep shooting everything you can shoot.”

“How come you guys don’t have cameras,” I ask. The producer says, “They won’t let us down here with them.”

We walk near WTC1 and later right in front of WTC7. After getting to the news truck a few blocks away, the guy inside says something to the effect of, “She’s been walking around for an hour and that’s all the soot she has on her?” And then Diane went live.