August 28, 2008

Today's Front Pages Analysis

Page 1 records Obama nomination for history

“A night for history.”

USA Today said it best after Democrats made history by being the first major party to nominate an African-American for president.

It was unbelievable news for some, including a California delegate who 45 years ago marched on Washington and listened to Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech. “45 Years Later, Witnesses to Dr. King’s Dream See A New Hope,” The New York Times said. The Plain Dealer of Cleveland printed a Newsday piece that began, “So many Americans thought this moment would never come.” The Chicago Sun-Times used two words: “Believe it.”

The Virginian-Pilot in Norfolk pictured its former governor — the U.S.’s first African-American governor — and said Douglas Wilder and other black politicians went to the convention “to witness the moment.”

The Dallas Morning News said, “Obama’s nomination has the nation in unfamiliar territory.” The Boston Globe noted a “Changing of the Guard,” in reporting that a new generation of civil rights leaders was given prime-time speaking slots at the Democratic National Convention.

At the end of the night, nominee Barack Obama made a surprise visit to the convention, joining VP nominee Joe Biden on stage. Photos of the two appeared almost everywhere. The Denver Post called it “Nominees’ Night.”

The Washington Post said, “Candidate Gets Boost From the Clintons” and offered an analysis of former President Bill Clinton’s endorsing speech.

“Historic, by acclamation,” The Philadelphia Inquirer said, noting that Obama gained the nomination after Sen. Hillary Clinton stopped a roll-call vote after 30 states and territories and called for nomination by acclamation. “Clinton interrupts roll call to direct all ‘ayes’ on him,” the Arkansas Democrat Gazette of Little Rock said.

In a treatment that stood out from others, the Los Angeles Times used a sketch of Obama with a profile in advance of tonight’s acceptance speech. “Barack Obama, half black and half white, fights the undertow of race,” it said. The Chicago Tribune noted tonight’s challenge for Obama: “Not only inspire us but reach us where we live.”

Kate Kennedy is front-pages editor at the Newseum.

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