Alumni Memory: Jessica Grillanda, MJ ’03

Where were you on 9/11?

I wouldn’t say this was the best day, but it was quite a kickstart: September 11, 2001.

I was sitting outside St. Patrick building frantically scanning the Ottawa Citizen for Professor Bob Rupert’s notoriously tough newspaper quiz, when my classmate told me a plane had crashed into one of the World Trade Towers. Next thing I knew, j-school students sat knee-to-knee, huddled in the foyer that had a tiny wall mounted TV watching the second plane hit. Rupert cancelled that quiz, and we, having decided we already were journalists, headed straight for the Parliament buildings to report on the Canadian reaction to the story. Some of us, whose names shall go unmentioned, found their way into an empty Senate chambers and even sat in the Queen’s Throne – or so goes the lore. Others, like me, got a quick lesson on the emotional toll “the scoop” can take on our interviewees. We told a bus load of tourists from Pennsylvania what had happened and watched their disbelief turn to fear and mourning. I don’t remember if we wrote any stories that day, but it’s a pretty good one in and of itself when the “where were you on 9/11 question?” gets popped.-  Jessica Grillanda (MJ ’03)

Alumni Memories are part of Carleton Journalism’s 75th Anniversary.

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Friday, February 5, 2021 in
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