Abstract : Reception of the images of a live catastrophe to television: Qualitative study of the reactions caused by the September 11, 2001 attempt in the United States through the recall of French viewers Abstract The present article explains the reactions of 56 French viewers to the in live images showing the attempt of New York and studies the reception process through the viewers recall, two months afterwards. The viewers are socially considered and their reactions are formulated in terms of information processing. The results are discussed in a theoretical framework built with social psychology theories of media messages reception and with several cognitive psychology models (e.g. flashbulb memory). During the first ten minutes of viewing, three different processes are characterized, on the one hand, by strong individual reactions where negative emotions and cognitive treatments of televisual information interact and, on the other hand, by strong needs for interpersonal communication, emotional exchanges and social co-construction of the event representation.