Hold the Front Page!

Posted: 28 September 2014 in media
Tags: , ,

Came across an old blog entry from my previous blog by a series of coincidences that are far too long and complicated to go into here. But it was interesting enough for me to repost below. Enjoy.


Well, that was interesting…

Spent yesterday evening at the British Library at an event put on by the Library, the media society and Newsnight, looking at the Front Page, an exhibitopn covering the best front pages from British Newspapers since 1906 (the earliest example on show was from The Daily Mirror from 1909.)

A fascinating debate with newspaper editors discussing what makes a ‘good’ front page, and the mistakes that can be made, as well as stories behind some of the great headlines of our time.

(And yes, although the debate and exhibition were solely about national British newspapers, they couldn’t let the classic New York Daily Post headline of “Headless Man Found in Topless Bar” go by unremarked.)

Eleven front pages were chosen (in my opinion, only a couple of them should have qualified for the ‘best ever front page’, and they missed out some absolute scorchers), and the winner was:

The others that were in contention:


The militant campaign by the suffragettes to get women the vote represents a major 20th century movement as women progressively sought equal rights. (22nd May 1914)


The seemingly miraculous escape of 300,000 British troops from Hitler’s advancing armies in an armada of “little ships” was greeted at home as proof that Britain could survive to fight the Nazis. (3rd June 1940)


Sport moves from the back page to the front (october 1968)


US astronaut Neil Armstrong’s famous “one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind” as the Apollo XI commander became the first man on the moon, was a defining moment. Note though how the picture is admitted to be a reconstruction… (21st July 1969)


News of the sinking of the Argentine cruiser General Belgrano, by a British nuclear submarine during the Falklands war, was greeted enthusiastically by The Sun. (4th May 1982). Interestingly, during the debate, Roy Greenslade revealed that – contrary to the legend that has grown up about this headline – Kelvin Mackenzie was never happy with it and as soon as reports came through that 1200 Argentinians had died, pulled the headline, replacing it with “Did 1200 have to die?” “Gotcha” was only ever seen on the Northern editions.


Don’t ask. I mean, really, don’t ask. (13th March 1986)


Britain’s relationship with the rest of Europe has often been a fractious one, with tensions within and towards the European Union diving the main political parties. This Sun headline marked a new turn in an old argument. (1st November 1990)


The murder of Stephen Lawrence, a black student, in south London, was elevated to symbolic status when the Daily Mail accused a group of men of a racially-inspired killing. No convictions resulted, but the case was one of several that highlighted the stresses of race relations in a changing Britain. (14th February 1997)


The disgrace of former Tory minister Jonathan Aitken, who would be jailed for perjury, arguably represents the power of the press at its best, challenging those in authority. (21st June 1997)


Britain’s troubled relations with Ireland in the 20th century saw the Easter Rising, the birth of the Irish Free State – today the Irish Republic – and the Troubles. The Independent’s story reflects a potential turning point. (29th July 2005)

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