Page One Heads and Graphics Reflect Obama’s Historic Moment

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By: Joe Strupp

The historic nature of Tuesday’s election of Barack Obama as the first African-American president was clearly reflected in front pages nationwide, as most papers used the words “Historic,” “Change,” and simply, “Obama.”

The New York Times, which used 96-point type only three times in its history, did so again and proclaimed the single last name of the next president in its header today: “OBAMA.”

“It told the story. Less is more,” said Spokeswoman Diane McNulty when asked why the single-word headline was used.

Previously, only the resignation of Richard Nixon, the first man on the moon, and the Sept. 11 attacks sparked such a large Page One font for the paper.

The historic papers sparked both single-copy press run increases and a flood of interest in the Newseum’s online Page One gallery at Newseum.org.

Tom Turco, director of web operations for the site that posts more than 600 front page images each day, said increased traffic had begun days ago and today’s was on pace to set a new record.

“I would expect the numbers to be probably the highest they?ve been since we opened,” he said, declining to offer specific data. “The system seems to be holding up well.” The Newseum site was clearly slowed down by the traffic.

Susan Bennett, vice president and deputy director of the news museum, said people were crowding outside the building as well to view and take shots of the gallery of front pages posted daily outside the building. “We are being bombarded,” she said of the web and outside activity.

Elsewhere, USA Today stated, “America makes history: Obama Wins,” The Wall Street Journal declared, “Obama Sweeps to Historic Victory,” and The Los Angeles Times proclaimed: “It’s Obama.”

Special sections also abounded, ranging from The Plain Dealer in Cleveland, which headlined today’s paper, “Change Has Come” to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, running a 12-page section titled: “HISTORIC WIN.”

In New York City, the Daily News offered a 32-page wrap that headlined, “President Obama,” while the rival New York Post declared, “Mr. President” on the front and provided 16 pages of inside coverage.

Elsewhere, Obama’s hometown Chicago Sun-Times showed the history of the moment with a black-and-white portrait of the president elect and the small title at the bottom, “Mr. President.” The Chicago Tribune, meanwhile, proclaimed “It’s Obama” in large type.

At least two Illinois papers, the Courier News of Elgin and the Northwest Herald of Crystal Lake, reduced their name flag significantly to make way for larger Obama headlines. The Herald’s “Historic Change” head was placed over a photo of a waving Obama that covered the top half of the paper, while the daily’s name was stuck in a small, upper left corner.

In the south, meanwhile, the historic impact also was noted with headlines such as that in the Anniston (Ala.) Star, which stated: “IN OUR LIFETIME.”

But not all found the Obama election a lead story. The Rockdale Citizen of Conyers, Ga., placed the local re-election of a sheriff and a dog attack at a school as bigger news than Obama’s win, which was placed below the fold with the small header: “Obama Triumphs.”
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