It was supposed to be a front page worth saving. Major newspapers across the country increased production of their Nov. 9, 2016 issues to satisfy what they expected to be huge demand for a physical piece of history.
While many expected to write history-making headlines on the first woman to the White House, instead history was made in a different way -- and newspapers across the country were left scrambling as campaign 2016 ended in an upset victory for Donald Trump.
Taken as a whole, newspaper front pages across the country -- accessible to the public through the Newseum’s daily digital archive -- tell the story of a seismic political realignment. CBS News spoke to Chad Stevens, a professor of photojournalism at the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill School of Media and Journalism, to assess how front pages across the nation visually captured the night.
Credit: Casa Grande Dispatch
About 90 percent of local newspapers across the country had “an expected, predictable photograph of Trump at a podium,” Chad Stevens said. “I find those podium imagery to be the low hanging fruit. Why do we need to see that?”
Credit: The Juneau Empire
Capturing "the action"
Of all Wednesday’s front pages, the Hartford Courant’s stood out the most to Stevens for capturing “the action” of the night. “Everyone you see is a white male celebrating, which taps into what we are now starting to see in actual numbers. Working class whites elected Trumps. This image pulls us in and begins to explore the idea and touch on why this happened,” he said.
Credit: The Hartford Courant
The front page of the Panama City News Herald in Panama City, Florida -- a battleground state that went for Donald Trump -- had an “emotional pull that works,” Stevens said. The simple image depicted Clinton supporters anxiously watching returns at what was supposed to be the candidate’s New York victory party.
Credit: Panama City News Herald
The Mercury News in San Jose, California took an entirely different approach for the day after an election that was largely shaped by competing theories on how to treat economic turmoil. “The day after the election, they’re not running the national story,” Stevens observed, noting the paper’s banner story on the Bay Area’s housing crisis. “I thought it was interesting that they took this path: exploring the issues versus the results.”
Credit: Mercury News
The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette -- the paper of record in the Clintons’ longtime home of Little Rock -- showcased one man to embody how Trump cleared an unprecedented path to the White House. “The body language is celebratory, but the expression is the opposite,” Stevens observed. “Can that speak to something larger -- the conflict that many people have? I wasn’t initially drawn to it, but that bit of contrast in this person’s body and expression is telling.”
Credit: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
Focus on emotion
“The newspapers that focus on the emotion -- the publications that use images that explore the emotional experience of people who are really invested -- are the most successful,” Stevens said. “Honestly, that’s what matters. Everyone is feeling emotion today on some level.”