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Heaton, Theiss to Speak at Tri-C West about Reporting on 9/11

James Crosby | 8/23/2013, 1:14 p.m.

In the hours after hijacked planes hit the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001, writer Michael Heaton drove to Manhattan, where he spent the next several days covering the biggest news story of his lifetime.

The scene at Ground Zero was surreal. “It was like being on the moon,” Heaton said. “The wreckage of the Twin Towers was eight stories high. People were walking dogs over it, trying to find bodies.”

Heaton and former colleague Evelyn Theiss, both of whom reported from New York that week, will speak about their experiences in “Reporting 9/11” at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 10, at the Western Campus of Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C®).

Heaton has been a writer at The Plain Dealer since 1987. His Minister of Culture column appears weekly in the Friday! magazine, and he worked as a writer for the newspaper’s Sunday magazine for many years.

Theiss is an investigative producer at WKYC-TV 3. For 23 years, she was a Plain Dealer reporter covering topics including Cleveland schools, politics and local history. On Sept. 11, 2001, she was fashion editor, and in Manhattan to cover Fashion Week when the planes hit. She was the first Plain Dealer reporter to cover the day’s events from the scene.

John Kerezy, assistant professor of journalism and mass communication at Tri-C, invited Heaton and Theiss to share their experiences because “they were eyewitnesses to history, and their story is a compelling one we all need to hear."

Their experiences offer insights into the importance of journalism as the first record of historic events.

“For older Americans, the catastrophic terrorist attacks of 9/11 were a defining moment in their lives. Today’s college students were just youngsters in 2001,” Kerezy said. “Anyone interested in journalism, history, and the background about how America got drawn into a global war on terror would benefit by hearing Michael’s and Evelyn’s stories.”

The free event will take place on the ground floor of the Galleria (Room G4) at the Western Campus, 11000 Pleasant Valley Road, Parma. For information, contact Kerezy at 216-987-5040.