(WGHP) — Even several hours before their night shift started, former FOX8 reporters Nancy Lee-Reeve and Scott Sayres didn’t wait for a phone call.
“I really have to rush into work right now because I think this is something really big and it’s going to be all hands on deck,” Lee-Reeve said.
“I was already throwing bags in my car and headed to the station,” Sayres said.
Newsroom managers were sending crews to the sites of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
Lee-Reeve, who was born and raised in New Jersey, was sent to New York covering Ground Zero and the surrounding area.
Sayres was sent to Washington, DC, to cover the attack at the Pentagon.
“The one thing that I remember about DC was the silence,” he said.
“Then we got to the Pentagon and the devastation. You could see the gaping hole in the building. You could still see some of the smoke. You could smell the burnt jet aviation fuel.”
Their week-long coverage meant 20-hour days showing viewers in the Piedmont and across the country how the attacks impacted people from all walks of life, including the way strangers came together and how families were ripped apart.
Lee-Reeve remembers talking to people trying to find missing loved ones after the Twin Towers collapsed.
She became emotional thinking about it 20 years later.
“It was really hard. It was really hard talking to those folks looking for their family, not knowing if they were going to be alive or not and hearing them ask for help,” she said.
Both acknowledge the responsibility journalists had to capture stories and how that coverage still serves as a reference point for how the world changed.
“We do have that visual record of it,” Sayres said. “It was recorded, and it was the media working at its finest to try to bring us closer as a country.”
“I think journalism is needed more than ever today, and I think it’s needed as a light to remind us of our history, to teach us lessons, and to share the community,” Lee-Reeve said.