A handsome coffee table book arrived in the mail today. It is the Poynter Institute's collection of the best front pages of newspapers published on November 5, 2008. That, of course, was the day after America's historic election of its first African-American president.
The News & Observer's page is one of 100 from around the world selected by Poynter, a St. Petersburg, Fla. nonprofit devoted to journalism education, for this book. Our sister publication, The Charlotte Observer, is also included. A team of journalists contributed to this page, but we are especially proud of news designer Jennifer Bowles, a graduate of the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Journalism, has designed many News & Observer fronts and special projects.
The print newspaper has sometimes been undervalued in the age of the Internet. "Election Day, November 4, 2008, was different," cartoonist Garry Trudeau, writes in his introduction to the book. He describes an election evening of boistrous celebrations around the globe. "And then the next day, after the street parties were over, people went out and did something many of them hadn't done in years. They bought newspapers. Yes, newspapers. By the trainload, actually."
The printed paper was not for the purpose of information, Trudeau notes, rather to the people who stood in long lines, it was a tangible keepsake "that can forever evoke and refresh a deeply consequential memory."
Prior to election, we mostly saw this reaction with sports championships.
Here's to the ink-stained, bird cage fillers, fish wraps that we love.
The Poynter book is available here.