History Has Its Eyes on Her?


For the first time in America’s 240-year history, a woman — Democrat Hillary Clinton — is the presidential candidate of a major political party.

To borrow a line from the smash Broadway hit “Hamilton,” history has its eyes on her. But on many of today’s front pages, all eyes were on Sen. Bernie Sanders, former president Bill Clinton and exuberant delegates. Where was Hillary?

“It’s somewhat jarring to see so many front pages heralding this historic nomination, but so few photographs of the actual history-making candidate,” said Ellie Stanton, a Newseum exhibits writer who selected the front pages for the July 27, 2016, Top Ten feature.

A look through a list of more than 900 front pages on the Newseum’s website shows Stanton has a point.

“Clinton makes history as nominee for president,” The Buffalo News headline proclaimed, accompanied by a picture worth (or worthy of) a thousand words of Bill Clinton delivering his prime-time speech at Tuesday’s convention.

“Hillary Gets Nomination,” said The Bakersfield Californian, showing Bill Clinton at the podium.

The Columbus Dispatch deftly balanced history and the Clintons: “Making history. Hillary Clinton nominated; husband relates their story,” the newspaper said.

With this historic milestone, why were front-page photos of Hillary so scarce? One explanation could be that the nominee was not at the convention but at home in Chappaqua, N.Y., watching the proceedings on TV. USA TODAY chose a live Jumbotron screenshot of Clinton at home for its front page.

Another explanation is tight deadlines.

“There’s no doubt timing was a factor,” said Brian Connolly, managing editor of The Buffalo News. “Using a file photo was never on the table for us. You go into the night knowing that President Clinton’s speech was the news of the night. Those images arrived earlier. A different photo would have been better, but when you’re scrambling to make a deadline and to get the best stories and the best photos in the paper, you aren’t afforded the luxury of stepping back.”

Connolly said the image of Hillary Clinton on the Jumbotron came in later and ran on page A4.

The Washington Post featured Bill Clinton and Sanders on Page One. On the cover of the newspaper’s free daily tabloid the Express, a photo of Hillary and the headline “Hill-story!” stood out.

Express executive editor Dan Caccavaro said an early deadline and a magazine-like approach of focusing on the historic aspect of the story drove the decision to feature a file photo of Hillary.

“To us, it was more of a way to mark a milestone in her historic rise,” Caccavaro said. Other newspapers “were covering the day. We were thinking of it as covering a milestone. How do we sum it up? With a picture of Hillary. Even if we had a later deadline, we probably would have approached it this way. This is one of the rare times where having an early deadline was a benefit.”


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