As we hurtle forward towards a post-newspaper world, I want to pause for a minute and praise papers for their ability to fix points in time; newspapers have been called the first draft of history, and history will miss them when they’re gone.
I’m heartsick over the shooting last week at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, and admire the survivors who are fed up. Sadly, I doubt we’re at a cultural turning point, but at least I think it’s possible that we are, and credit belongs to the youth are getting out in front of the culture.
Anyway, using the Newseum web site (newseum.org), I spent some time Feb. 16 looking at how America’s oldest news medium was treating the Florida shooting.
The Boston Globe chose bold, front-page commentary. As did, and perhaps a bit more surprisingly given its conservative ideology, the New York Post:
The New York Times was much calmer in its approach, but the Times is not given much to hyperventilating:
My local newspaper in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, was one of many that featured candle-lit vigil images from Florida, as the Kansas City paper did, too:
And finally, closer to the action, how two Florida papers played the story, including showing the victims:
In years to come, when we look back on this event, I for one hope it serves as the start of something. In the future, it would be good to look back on the years 1999 to 2018 as the anomaly, as the odd time when schools briefly became a target before we the people were able to collectively come to grips with this scourge.
May we look back from a less violent America. And the front pages shown here will be artifacts that will preserve our memory of this sad time.