Home > headlines > Pick your favorite inauguration front page

Pick your favorite inauguration front page

barack-obama-for-presidentOn Wednesday, newspapers across the country will carry the story of President-elect Barack Obama’s historic inauguration. The story, of course, already will have been broadcast on TV, radio and the Web all day  Tuesday.  Yet most newspapers will aim for a headline and design that captures the history of the event. Editors and designers, knowing Wednesday’s page will be a keepsake for many people, have been planning their front pages for weeks. Sara Quinn, who writes a column called Visual Voice for the Poynter Institute,  writes about the tough choices editors will have to make on Tuesday as they design pages with high emotional impact. Your assignment: On Wednesday, scan the nation’s front pages available on the Newseum’s Web site. In the comment section of this blog, after looking at headlines and photos and the page design, tell me which newspaper front page from Wednesday’s editions is your favorite and why. This is due by the beginning of class on Thursday. Your comments can be brief, but they must indicate why you chose the front page you did and should reflect careful consideration. As always, remember to take care with spelling and grammar as you post to this blog.

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  1. Amanda Bergstrom
    January 21, 2009 at 12:18 pm

    The front page that I felt worked the best for displaying the inauguration was from the Oakland Tribune. The large picture of President Obama shows him mid-speech and this, I thought, really made the picture. It displays such emotion and determination; along with his clenched fists, his body language is portraying what his quote is saying. I believe that this front page really pops out and grabs your attention, it made me want to know more about his inaugural address. The headline was also eye-catching, “Our 44th-and our FIRST”; mainly because it was different from all of the other headlines. Most of the headlines I read through took on a spin using Obama’s phrase, “Hope over fear”; but this newspaper took a different direction.

  2. Brittany Sturek
    January 21, 2009 at 1:01 pm

    My favorite front page is from The Fresno Bee. I absolutely love this photo. The simple headline “DAY OF CHANGE” is all that’s needed because the photo speaks for itself as it captures the moment perfectly: the first African-American president being sworn in on the steps of the Capitol while his wife holds Lincoln’s Bible. I also really like how the photo is carried all the way to the top under the paper’s header and all the way to the bottom, with few other words to distract from the photo. This simple page makes a great poster and keepsake.

  3. Katrina Fischman
    January 21, 2009 at 3:40 pm

    My favorite front page is The Birmingham News. I like how the large, colorful picture grabs my attention and is a close-up of the shot that several papers used. The photo shows the adoration Michelle Obama has for her husband as he is sworn into office, and the effect of having Michelle and Barack Obama appear in focus while the crowd behind them is blurred helps draw the viewer to them. This cover is more of a poster layout, which I believe is suitable for this historical event. I like how there still are blurbs to related articles at the bottom of the page. I love how the newspaper’s header is over the picture in white letters and the use of the large “w” to start the story. Even though many other papers have the same headline of “Obama begins ‘a new era,'” I thought it was appropriate.

  4. Morgan Demmel
    January 21, 2009 at 4:27 pm

    My favorite inauguration front page is The Fresno Bee. The photo captures the excitement of Barack and Michelle Obama as Obama is sworn in. The photo is clearly dominant on the page, and grabs the reader’s attention immediately. It uses vibrant color but has a simple and elegant design. The headline “Day of Change” perfectly conveys the importance of Obama’s inauguration. This cover is laid out like a poster and is visually appealing but also conveys the necessary information.

  5. John Schreier
    January 21, 2009 at 5:01 pm

    The front page I liked most was Arizona’s Casa Grande Dispatch. It had a much different message than the others because of the prominence of the “era of responsibility.” I found the lead-in, which said “a phrase that seemed to be both a promise and a challenge” to be very powerful, yet capturing the importance of the time fully. My favorite thing about the layout was Obama’s hand on the Bible and the gloved hand of John Roberts. It’s the most important part of the inauguration ceremony in my mind, and this was the only newspaper to emphasize the glove. I also the watermark-like seal of the presidency in the back was a great touch. Finally, I enjoyed the inauguration summary at the bottom of the page because I’m partial to short highlights sections like that.

  6. Andrea Vasquez
    January 21, 2009 at 5:44 pm

    One front page that stuck out to me was the Chronicle-Tribune from Marion, Ind.
    At first glance, I thought it looked too busy and overdone. However, once I looked at the page closer and remembered that it is a commemorative edition, I appreciated the layout more.
    As would be expected, many of the other papers have used the same photos – the shot of the crowd at the mall, Obama at the podium, the Obama family in front of the Capitol or Barack and Michele walking. Many papers blew up one or two photos, put a big headline and text wrap minimal copy around the objects in the photos.
    The collage-style layout on the Chronicle-Tribune allowed the use of more photos, including several that haven’t gotten as much exposure. I like the inclusion of the two crowd close-ups as well as the special edition flag at the top of the page.
    Although I like the pull quote with the signature-style credit, I wish the Chronicle-Tribune would have resisted using the same headline – “a new day” – that so many other papers used.

  7. Rachel Sullivan
    January 21, 2009 at 8:08 pm

    I liked the cover of the Greeley, Colorado paper, the Tribune. It does not have a headline, but has pictures of every president with a small red number indicating their order of presidency. Obama’s picture is the biggest and he has a huge grin on his face. One thing I noticed was that the other presidents’ numbers are on the upper left corner of their pictures, while Obama’s is in the upper right hand corner. This could be a coincidence, but maybe it is to demonstrate the difference between the first black president and the all white cast of the previous presidents.

  8. Krista Vogel
    January 21, 2009 at 10:44 pm

    My favorite newspaper cover was from The Bulletin from Bend, Ore. The headline was a quote from Obama’s inauguration speech that read, “Starting today, we must… begin again the work of rebuilding America.” Many of Wednesday’s covers looked very similar, with repeated headlines and the same photos used on many. I thought this paper stood apart from the rest for two reasons. First, the photo used was a cutout of the president and first lady walking and waving to the crowd, with the background almost transparent and black and white. I thought it was a creative spin on the traditional photo. The other unique quality I found was the headline. While I think the ellipsis takes emphasis off the quote as a whole, I think the statement is profound and hopeful for the country. Also, after reading numerous “hope over fear” headlines, I thought this one was refreshing and meaningful.

  9. Marcy Pursell
    January 21, 2009 at 10:44 pm

    I skimmed through all the newspapers and narrowed down my choices to six finalists. I finally settled on Newsday from Long Island, NY. It shows a full-page spread of Barack and Michelle Obama. The headline is “The President and First Lady”. I liked it because it shows the couple having a nice moment together, enjoying the day and the experience. The headline is simple, yet I think it says a lot. It doesn’t bring up race or inexperience, just the facts. The picture is of the president and first lady. It was a nice shot of the couple, both showing smiles. I think the picture is light-hearted and gives the audience a sense of happiness, not having to worry about our current economic status.

  10. Katy Healey
    January 21, 2009 at 11:02 pm

    My favorite front page was the Gilbert Tribune. The headline read “OBAMA SWORN INTO HISTORY,” which set itself apart from most headlines which usually read “A New Era” or “Hope over fear.” The Gilbert Tribune headline was clever and captured the historic inauguration well. The picture beside it also seemed appropriate; it was a picture of Barack Obama with his hand on the Bible smiling as he took the oath of office. There were also three smaller picture below it. Although pictures dominated the page, there was enough text to not leave readers completely void of information. I also liked other spreads that included only one picture covering the entire page with a headline, but the headlines were usually too predictable and unimaginative. By contrast, the Gilbert Tribune front page was visually appealing and included an appropriate amount of text.

  11. Mac Barber
    January 21, 2009 at 11:10 pm

    My favorite front page was from The Salt Lake Tribune from Salt Lake City, Utah. The reason I chose this front page is because it used a picture that no other paper used. The angle of the photo is great, and it leads the reader’s eyes from the president and first lady down to the iconic presidential seal on the floor. There wasn’t a formal headline, but I didn’t mind because the quote that is used is significant enough to take the place of the headline in my opinion. I also like that the quote is small, so that it doesn’t distract from the photo.

  12. Mekita
    January 22, 2009 at 12:10 am

    I agree with Mac. The Salt Lake Tribune from Salt Lake City, Utah did an extraordinary job with its front page. The angle of the photo is intriguing and visually appealing. The first couple looks stunning and regal as they walk toward the presidential seal. From the front pages I saw, no other one chose such an eye-catching photo. Of course, the actual inauguration was important — but I liked that the Tribune took a risk and showed President Obama and the First Lady in a different, more royal light. The quote was fitting and rang true; its placement was rather impeccable as it did not take away from the photo. Definitely the best front page!!

  13. Jaclyn Tan
    January 22, 2009 at 12:34 am

    I really liked the ones from The Fresno Bee (Fresno, Calif.), The Honolulu Advertiser (Honolulu, Hawaii), The Salt Lake Tribune (Salt Lake City, Utah), and The Times-Reporter (Dover-New Philadelphia, Ohio)

    But I think The Times-Reporter’s front page was the best because although it doesn’t seem as grand as The Salt Lake Tribune’s or as colorful as the other ones, it clearly shows what this defining moment meant to the people. I really liked it because the headline “Walking into History” fits so well with a photo of the first couple walking hand in hand during the parade. The main photo was flanked on the left and right by photos of various people’s reaction on that day. They showed people and families being thoughtful, jubilant, hopeful, teary-eyed – which I think fit the byline “With hope, jubilation, nation watches as Obama takes oath.” It really conveys the emotion of the crowd to the reader.

    Also, I compiled some of the ones you guys commented on so far:

  14. John Ray
    January 22, 2009 at 12:53 am

    My top three were the Honolulu Adviser, Journal and Courier and The Daily Advance. The Daily Advance though would have to be my favorite. To me a lot of the front pages had a huge picture with no story or a smaller picture with many stories. I believe the picture should have been large, it was a historic event after all, but I’m just not into the whole keepsake front page thing. In my opinion why is a keepsake page needed? My roommate went and picked up every paper today telling me he’s going to hold on to them because someday they’re going to be worth a lot of money. When in fact they’re probably not going to be. Right now a paper printed in 1969 from when we landed on the is selling on Ebay for $2.74. If a paper from the day we landed on the moon isn’t selling for more than five dollars today’s papers definitely won’t be selling for more than that.

  15. Brittany Claxton
    January 22, 2009 at 9:28 am

    The Birmingham newspaper caught my attention because of the size and color of the main picture depicting President Obama and wife Michelle as he takes his oath of office. The main reason I chose this page was because it grabbed my attention, it was appropriate for the event and it did not lack the inclusion of useful information.

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