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Jim Dwyer (born March 4, 1957) is an American journalist. In 1992, he was a member of a team at Newsday that won the Pulitzer Prize for Spot News Reporting, and in 1995, as a columnist with Newsday, he received the Pulitzer Prize for Commentary. At present, he is a reporter with The New York Times.
Dwyer is the author or co-author of four books. His latest, 102 Minutes: The Untold Story of the Fight to Survive Inside the Twin Towers, co-written with Kevin Flynn, was a 2005 National Book Award finalist. With other reporters at the Times, Dwyer conducted an intensive investigation of what happened inside towers 1 and 2 of the World Trade Center before they collapsed. The book documented extraordinary but little-known rescues, including the work of Pablo Ortiz and Frank DeMartini, who rescued scores of people from behind jammed doors on the upper floors of the north tower.
102 Minutes also showed that some 1,500 people who survived the plane impacts were unable to escape, their fate sealed not only by the destructive attacks, but also by a decision during the design of the towers in 1965 to cut by half the number of stairways.
He filed freedom of information requests for public records held by the city of New York and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which owned the towers. When these requests were refused, he sued, backed by the Times. The paper eventually won the release of 20,000 pages of tape transcripts, oral histories, and other documents, including tapes of police and fire operations, and 911 calls.
These showed that hundreds of people were told to remain inside the towers, despite evacuation orders issued by fire commanders on the ground; the 911 operators, contacted by people in the towers, did not know about the evacuation order.
The tapes also revealed that police helicopters warned of the collapse of the north tower -- the second of the two buildings to fall -- well in advance of the catastrophe, but the firefighters could not hear warnings from police radios. Some 200 firefighters in striking distance of safety died in the north tower, unaware of the peril. The police and fire responses were not coordinated, a virtual replay of problems that afflicted the city's response to the 1993 bombing of the trade center.
This documentary material contradicted the accounts given by former Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani and Mayor Michael Bloomberg to the 9/11 Commission.
Dwyer is also the co-author of Actual Innocence: Five Days to Execution and Other Dispatches from the Wrongly Convicted (Doubleday, 2000, with Peter Neufeld and Barry Scheck), which examined the causes of wrongful convictions by studying the cases of people who were exonerated to see how they ended up in jail. He is the author of Two Seconds Under the World, an account of the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center (Crown, 1994, with Dee Murphy, David Kocieniewski and Peg Tyre) that explored the early signs of fundamentalist terrorism, and poor coordination by investigating agencies, including the FBI. He is the author of Subway Lives: 24 Hours in the Life of the New York Subways (Crown, 1991), a work set on the day the last graffiti-covered train was in service by following the lives of six New Yorkers. Much of the material came from his job as the subway columnist for New York Newsday.
A native New Yorker, Dwyer wrote columns for New York Newsday and the New York Daily News before joining the Times. He earned a bachelorÔ??s degree in general science from Fordham University in 1979 and a masterÔ??s degree in journalism from Columbia University in 1980.
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