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A somber New York Times front page lists 1,000 coronavirus deaths

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  • The New York Times prepared a powerful front page for its May 24 print edition, marking the somber milestone of 100,000 coronavirus deaths in the United States.
  • The newspaper listed the names of 1,000 people who died of COVID-19 — just 1% of the total death toll.
  • The newspaper staff combed through obituaries and death notices for people whose cause of death was listed as COVID-19, and listed people’s names, ages, and facts about their lives.
  • An editor for the paper said she realized there was “a little bit of a fatigue with the data” among both Times journalists and the general public, and so the newspaper sought to visualize the extent of the loss.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

To mark the somber milestone of 100,000 coronavirus deaths in the United States, The New York Times prepared a devastating front page for Sunday’s print edition, listing the names of 1,000 people who have died of COVID-19.

Roughly five months after the first US coronavirus case was reported, the US was set to hit the grim death toll of 100,000 in a matter of days. The Times’ front page represented just 1% of those deaths.

Each of the names on the front page was accompanied with a miniature obituary, noting each person’s name age, city and state, and brief facts about their lives.

For 85-year-old June Beverly Hill of Sacramento, The Times noted that “no one made creamed potatoes or fried sweet corn the way she did.” For 27-year-old Jordan Driver Haynes of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, the newspaper described him as a “generous young man with a delightful grin.”

Orlando Moncada, a Bronxville man who died at 56, “left Peru and grabbed hold of the American dream.” A 25-year-old Michigan woman, Bassey Offiong, “saw friends at their worst but brought out their best.”

 

“They were not simply names on a list. They were us,” a subheadline on the front-page read.

The newspaper — a team of editors and three graduate student journalists — compiled the details from online obituaries and death notices that included COVID-19 as the cause of death, according to The Times.

Simone Landon, an assistant editor on the graphics desk, told the newspaper it was important to reckon with the 100,000-person figure.

She said she and her colleagues found that “both among ourselves and perhaps in the general reading public, there’s a little bit of a fatigue with the data,” and sought to create a front page that would visualize the extent of the loss.

The chief creative officer of The Times, Tom Bodkin, noted that Sunday’s newspaper is “certainly a first in modern times” to run a front page with no images or graphics.

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