The full front page of Sunday’s edition of The New York Times will be filled entirely with the names of 1,000 people who died as a result of the coronavirus in the United States.
The New York Times’ Sunday May 24th print edition describes the people in a preface by saying: “They Not Simply Names on a List, They Were Us.”
The newspaper penned a brief introduction to the names of the deceased before listing their names, age, place of residence and a succinct one-line description about their lives:
“Numbers alone cannot possibly measure the impact of the coronavirus on America, whether it is the number of patients treated, jobs interrupted or lives cut short. As the country nears a grim milestone of 100,000 deaths attributed to the virus, The New York Times scoured obituaries and death notices of the victims. The 1,000 people here reflect just 1 percent of the toll. None were mere numbers.”
Times Insider explained the humbling front page obituary through the words of Marc Lacey, the newspaper’s National editor: “I wanted something that people would look back on in 100 years to understand the toll of what we’re living through,” Mr. Lacey said in an email.
The Times is the most prominent publication to meticulously lay out the names of the victims tied to COVID-19, but it is not the first. Last month, The Boston Globe newspaper published 15 pages of obituaries in its own Sunday edition. The list of the coronavirus victims was paired with some photographs and brief descriptions of some of the recently deceased and prompted social media viewers to share it as a warning against lifting lockdown orders.
Newsweek reached to the New York Times for additional comment Saturday afternoon.
The Times‘ Simone Landon, assistant editor of the Graphics desk, explained that the front page design can hopefully “represent the number in a way that conveyed both the vastness and the variety of lives lost.”
The jarring front page follows weeks of NYT editorials and opinions pieces which have criticized President Donald Trump and his administration’s responses to the coronavirus pandemic. The president frequently ridicules his hometown newspaper’s coverage of his administration, often lobbing insults on Twitter, including accusations of “fake news” and being an “embarrassment to journalism.”
“Artists are already working with the NEW YORK TIMES front page as a backdrop for new political art. And with good reason—we *can’t* become immune to outrage over the ways in which this president’s perfidy, venality and malfeasance *directly* led to these 100,000 COVID-19 deaths,” remarked journalist Seth Abramson, one of many members of the news media who praised the front cover.
According to the Johns Hopkins University COVID-19 tracker, the U.S. death toll stands at 96,875, as of 6 p.m. ET Saturday.
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