Historic headlines need to look forward
In discussions Saturday and today, I criticized the Saturday New York Times headline, "MUBARAK OUT." I argued that yesterday's old news should not be the headline. Others said newspapers covering historic news are kept for posterity, justifying such headlines. Tim McGuire suggested a blog post on the topic. I decided to use Storify to summarize the discussion.
- Jim Roberts of the New York Times started the discussion by tweeting and praising the Times front page (which had much to praise).
- I criticized the headline.
- Elaine Clisham, a friend and former colleague from the American Press Institute, discussed with me the value of having a headline to keep for posterity.
- In addition to the discussion with Elaine, I had a discussion by Twitter direct message with Steve Klein, which I quote here with Steve's permission:
@steveklein: Posterity matters. It's one of the things that actually does differentiate print. Readers want print to make the moment historic forever.
@stevebuttry: Posterity matters. I'll save a newspaper today (can't recall last one I bought), probably a Times. But how about a head for today's readers?
@steveklein: The "head' for today's readers is online. Isn't that the point? Today's readers -- now's readers -- are online/mobile. News is ubiquitous.
@steveklein: I save historic newspaper front pages much like I save some magazines -- like the famous Wired "Push" cover!
@stevebuttry: I save historic newspapers, too. Bought this one. NYT, too. But woulda bought one w/ forward-looking head.
@steveklein: I don't disagree (not the same thing as agreeing!) on saving historic papers w/forward spin angle. But I do like the frozen moment in time.
@steveklein: But that speaks to the point (esp. as Mark Potts makes it): Newspapers are and have been frozen in time. It's been a great 400-year run.
@stevebuttry: Agreed. I cherish my time in newspapers. Their refusal/inability to change grieves me.
- My friend and former Des Moines Register colleague Charles Apple, who does a great blog on newspaper design, rounded up front pages on the Egyptian revolution, with great commentary on design, photo choice and headlines. I noted that several achieve historic front pages with forward-looking headlines.
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