Friday, January 06, 2006

Headlines After Deadlines

Wednesday morning at work, all three newspapers sold in our dining room -- the  Chicago Tribune and Sun-Times, and USAToday—had the story that the 13 miners trapped in the West Virginia coal mine had been rescued. I saw these after driving to work, hearing that there had in fact only been one survivor.

I thought at the time that these were, after all, the suburban editions, which had to be printed earlier for delivery, and by now the city editions would have the later tragic news. But they didn't. If there was ever an opportunity for an editor to yell "Stop the presses!" and get an Extra onto the streets, this was it. But most papers just left the error until they had to explain the physics of deadline pressures the next day.

There's a nifty site called the  Newseum which offers a view of the days front pages from around the world. If you go to their "Map View" you could have followed the progression of headlines west across time zones, from the Eastern papers with the erroneous report, to the California papers that "went to bed" later, and had time to run with the bad news.

You can also download that front page as a PDF to look at or print out. I found it very handy to get some nice decorations of front page stories of the White Sox World series victory, printed in color on fresh white paper.