The newspaper
The Daily Mirror
The date
July 7, 1934
The news event
Fred Perry, a British tennis player, wins Wimbledon
What you see
This front page is a mixed bag. Why? Because it
combines two elements – a strong ‘splash’ (or main
story), and a secondary overlapping story. The layout
and design are typical of the time.
This front page was printed on July 7 1934, during
the time now known as the ‘inter-war period’.
Europe was still recovering from World War I.
Unemployment was high across the world with
three million unemployed in Britain alone in 1933.
The economies of the leading nations, especially the
United States, were in deep trouble. People often
turned to sporting successes to lift them from the
depressed mood.
Tennis was not a professional sport in those days, but
Wimbledon was regarded as the home of tennis, and
as the world’s most important tennis championship.
Perry went on to win the championship again twice.
A British male tennis player has not won Wimbledon
since his Perry’s triumph in 1936. His name lives on
today as a leading brand of casual clothes.
The front page
The Daily Mirror claimed the largest sales of any
national daily newspaper at the time. The editorial
director, Harry Guy Bartholomew, also known as
‘Bart’, turned the newspaper, and its companion, the
Sunday Pictorial (now the Sunday Mirror) into
American-style tabloids that they remain today. This
front page picked an obvious Saturday sports lead
story when a Brit, Fred Perry, won Wimbledon but
mixed it with a substantial ‘second lead’. That story
was the tragic death of the baby son of the aristocrat
Lord Burghley, himself a famous sportsman and
hurdler. Even for a Labour-supporting newspaper like
the Daily Mirror the story of a tragedy among the
upper classes was too good to miss.
This design would be considered very untidy today.
Typical of its time the page had a variety of different
typefaces starting with the ‘splash’ or main headline:
several ‘decks’ or lines of headings. Why is the page
interesting? Apart from the event itself, it’s because of
the way the pictures have been presented, sometimes
with a sharp angle on one edge. What is also strange
is how the heads of the mother and baby have been
cut out and superimposed on the main picture of
Perry’s triumph as the stories appear entirely
unconnected with each other. Notice as well how the
headlines below the main one have an ‘initial’ capital
letter. As in: ‘Title Comes Home After 25 Years’ or ‘
Father and Mother at Baby Son’s Bedside’. This was a
widespread custom of English language newspapers
around the world. Some American newspapers still do
this but this technique was largely dropped in Britain
in the 1970s.

The newspaper
The Daily Sketch
The date
September 29, 1938
The news event
Britain signs an agreement aimed at preventing war
with Germany
What you see
This is a very powerful front page. It consists of a six-
word ‘splash’, or main headline, a big picture and
very few words of text. The portrait of Prime Minister
Neville Chamberlain is cut out and pasted on to a
plain background. The image almost has the feeling
of a comic book super hero. The newspaper editor
will have decided that a few ‘heroic’ words and a
bold picture would attract potential readers. Less is
more. And if readers want to read more of the story,
they have to buy the newspaper. Cost? One penny.
This front page was printed in September 1938 –
one year before the outbreak of World War II. The
Prime Minister, Neville Chamberlain, believed that
‘appeasement’ was the best way to avoid war with
Germany. This meant that he was prepared to agree
to Hitler’s demands, in the hope that this might help
secure peace. So, Chamberlain, and the Prime
Ministers of France and Italy, went to talk to Hitler in
September 1938 and signed the Munich Agreement
which gave Germany parts of Czechoslovakia in
return for ‘peace’. War broke out one year later.
The idea of bowing to Hitler’s demands may seem
amazing to us today. But many people in Britain
believed that talking to Hitler and reaching an
agreement would calm him down, and thus avoid
another war. World War I, fought from 1914-1918,
had left nearly 8 million dead with millions more
wounded or missing. This war was still very much
alive in people’s memories, and the public desperately
wanted to avoid another war.
The front page
Newspapers of the time were much less critical of
politicians, the Government and other institutions,
such as the Royal family, than they are now. The
Prime Minister was a man to be respected until,
perhaps, he did something illegal or he was defeated
in an election. Shortly before this front page
appeared, Chamberlain had flown to Munich with the
hopes of all who suffered in the last war resting on
him. The journalists on the newspaper decided
Chamberlain was a bit of an action hero, and wrote in
the article that the Prime Minister was ‘refusing to
bow to fatigue, refusing to give way to
discouragement. . .’ This type of reverential language
is never used in newspapers of today, unless
journalists are making a joke about politicians. The
Daily Sketch was a popular downmarket newspaper,
later to be closed by Associated Newspapers, owners
of the Daily Mail, in 1971.
This is very interesting for the time. The usual
ingredients of a newspaper front page are there: a
masthead or titlepiece, a picture or illustration,
headlines and text, advertisements. The way these
elements are used in the layout is unusual.
The masthead looks surprisingly modern with the
emphasis on the word ‘Sketch’.
The ‘splash’ headline was set up by hand with an
operator picking individual characters or letters to
form the strong lines: THE MAN THE WORLD
LOOKS TO. The words are also hand-positioned
providing an unusual amount of white space. The
headline font is Ultra Bodoni which was originally
used by American advertising agencies and was
frowned upon by experts on typography.

The main image of Chamberlain has been cut out. At
the time this was a complicated procedure, involving
a metal block which was the ‘half-tone’ picture being
cut out by hand – a far cry from today’s widespread
use of image manipulation software.
At the top of the page, there is an ad for a Pedigree
baby’s pram that looks totally out of place – at a time
when world peace hung in the balance. The ad is
called an ‘earpiece” and is usually one of a pair,
providing two ‘ears’ either side of the masthead. In
place of the right hand earpiece is a ‘cross-reference’
panel promoting an inside story, picked out in red.
In the days before newspaper colour, editors were
only able to use one ‘spot’ colour to help brighten
up their page.
Lastly the page has a minimum of ‘copy’ – 61
patriotic and praiseworthy words.

The newspaper
The Daily Mirror
The date
July 5, 1945
The news event
The first General Election after World War ll
What you see
This dramatic front page re-uses a classic cartoon by
Zec, first drawn to illustrate VE-Day – May 8 1945,
the end of the war in Europe. Just as it is unusual
now to have a cartoon as a main image on a front
page, it was unusual then. The cartoon is a powerful
drawing which helps turn the page into what
amounts to an election poster.
Two months earlier, the Allied forces had defeated
Germany: WWII was over in Europe. The fight
against Japan continued in the Far East until August
15, 1945 when atomic bombs were dropped on the
Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The
aftermath of war was bleak: millions of Britons were
dead or missing in action; hundreds of thousands of
troops were being brought back to Britain from where
they had been fighting; family had lost loved ones, or
knew of a friend who had.
Winston Churchill, who was the conservative Prime
Minister from 1940- 1945, had played a major part
in helping the Allies to win the war. But the people
of Britain wanted a change of government. Many
remembered the terrible economic depression before
the war, and the resulting poverty and high
unemployment. The war had helped to create
full employment. Now, in peace time, there was
a determination that the country should not fall
back into old habits. The Labour party promised a
“total war on bad housing, unemployment, poverty,
ignorance and ill health”. Twenty-one days after this
front page appeared, Labour under Clement Attlee
won a huge victory over the Conservatives and
Liberals. Churchill resigned immediately, still a
war hero.
The front page
During WWII, and for several years afterwards, British
newspapers had to cope with newsprint rationing.
This meant that they could only print a few pages
each day. So this front page showed a bold use of its
limited space. Who was Zec? Philip Zec was the
greatest and most controversial cartoonist of World
War II. He was the political cartoonist for the Daily
Mirror between 1939 and 1946. His cartoon on this
front page is thought by some to be the most
significant cartoon of the twentieth century. Most
national newspapers today still have a political
cartoonist who is usually asked to illustrate the main
editorial page. This front page has become an
‘editorial’ page where the journalists are writing what
is really a political speech to their readers, rather than
reporting a news event as such. The paper calls on its
readers to: ‘Vote on behalf of the men who won the
victory for you. You failed to do so in 1918 [end of
World War I]. The result is known to all. The land
“fit for heroes” did not come into existence.’
Without once mentioning the Labour Party by name,
the article cleverly just calls on people to vote,
knowing fully well that their readers are very likely to
support that party.
This design is simple and dramatic. Why? Because the
eye is immediately drawn to the cartoon figure of a
wounded soldier striding over a land destroyed by
war. The cartoon carries a powerful message that is
then reinforced by the simple but strong lines of text
next to it. The message brought out through the
typography and the image is straightforward: Vote
for the men who fought and died in the war and for
those who survived.

The newspaper
The Sun
The date
February 14, 1992
The news event
Prince Charles and Diana
What you see
A typical Sun-style front page. An apparently normal
picture of Princess Diana and Prince Charles on a visit
to India. But the headlines seem to suggest a
different story.
It seemed like a fairy tale come true when Prince
Charles and Lady Diana Spencer married in July
1981. Pictures of the young couple appeared in
newspapers across the world; hundreds of millions
watched the event on television. She was glamorous,
shy and was destined to be the future Queen of
England. The couple appeared to be madly in love.
But by the time The Sun ran this front page, there
were many rumours, and stories in newspapers, that
their marriage was not working out well.
The front page
The Sun, like most national newspapers, has mixed
feelings about the Royal family. The newspaper will
use controversial pictures and stories of the Royals, as
it knows these will help sell newspapers. Tabloids use
stories of royal scandals to help fight their competitors.
Some will say that they are only providing the public
with what they want – if the readers don’t like it they
can buy different newspapers. But with a circulation of
around 3.2 million, and a readership of many millions
more, they believe they have found the right money-
making formula.
Why did The Sun run this front page? For a start, it
was Valentine’s Day and the idea was to use a picture
taken by the famous Royal photographer Arthur
Edwards together with a sensational story suggesting
that the romance had gone out of their marriage. The
story claims that Prince Charles tried to give his wife
‘an old-fashioned smacker on the lips yesterday but
missed by a mile . . . But the Princess coolly turned her
head away – and he ended up nuzzling her right ear.’
At that time, it was very difficult, if not impossible, to
ask a member of the Royal family if a royal marriage
was in trouble. It was even more unlikely that you’d
get an answer. So the newspaper put two and two
together and came up with a story that it thought the
public would love to read, although there were very
few facts in it. Charles and Diana are instantly
transformed into ridiculous caricatures – Punch and
Judy, Basil and Sybil Fawlty.
Most tabloid editors justify this type of story by
saying it is in the public interest - meaning that the
public have a right to know. In this case, they would
also argue that ‘the kiss that was a miss’ took place in
public and that anyone had the right to take the
picture and use it. Of course, the rumours were true –
Charles and Diana were divorced in 1996, Diana was
tragically killed in a car crash in Paris in 1997, and
Prince Charles married his ‘mistress’ Camilla Parker
Bowles in 2005. But since the death of Diana, many
people have questioned whether newspapers really
do have the right to play such an intrusive and
judgemental part in the lives of the Royal family.
Do newspapers have the right to speculate, to create
rumours, to stretch truths and to feed the public with
facts about people’s private lives? If so, where do the
boundaries lie?
A typical tabloid design. The Sun, the largest selling
daily newspaper in Britain, is well-designed and well-
produced. If you look closely at this front page you
will find that the headlines ‘fit’ very well across the
columns, as do the captions and all other elements of
the page. Note how they have put a small secondary
story to fill the gap between the masthead and the
rest of the page. The ‘splash’ or main story begins
with a typical tabloid layout trick of having a big
WOB – that is a ‘white on black headline’. In this
case they have also used a picture taken from their
wedding when they had a proper kiss. See also how
they put a little heart with the words ‘Call that a
smacker Charles’ to fill space on the ‘deck’ or line of
the heading.

The newspaper
The Daily Sketch
The date
November 25, 1963
The news event
Lee Harvey Oswald, assassin of President Kennedy,
is gunned down
What you see
Every newspaper wants ‘live’ images of a major news
event. These days, newspapers are often beaten by
television. But this front page captures the precise
moment when Lee Harvey Oswald, the man believed
to have shot JFK, was himself assassinated. A Dallas
nightclub owner, Jack Ruby, had shot Oswald,
claiming he ‘did it for Jackie’, Kennedy’s wife. In an
amazing stroke of luck, the Daily Sketch reporter
happened to be in exactly the right place at the right
time, enabling him to send an ‘exclusive’ story back
to the newspaper in London.
‘Where were you when you heard the news?’ People
alive in the 1960s are still asked this question about
the day President John F. Kennedy, the most powerful
man in the world, was assassinated. The event shook
the world. The president had been brutally shot whilst
driving through Dallas in a convertible limousine with
his beautiful wife, Jacqueline. Everyone alive at the
time remembers what he or she was doing. There was
talk of another world war. Just two days after the
shooting, Lee Harvey Oswald, the man believed to be
JFK’s murderer, was himself killed. Then the endless
theories began as to whether it was Oswald who did
the dirty deed. At the time, Oswald was caught with
enough evidence to make everyone believe he was
guilty, even though he never went to trial. There
were rumours of gangsters being involved, and the
Russians, even the CIA; the list of conspiracies
became very long.
The front page
Every journalist dreams about an ‘exclusive scoop’,
hoping to capture the unique story that ‘wows’ the
public. The shooting of Oswald was such a dramatic
event, also seen live on television, that national
newspapers in Britain and in other countries carried it
as their main article. The paper ran the full version of
the story on its back page, pushing sporting coverage
The page uses the emotional language of a
Hollywood movie: ‘I’m no hero – I did it for Jackie’;
‘The Executioner; ‘the law of the gun’. Even the
image looks like a still from a gangster film. The
sensationalistic tone of the page simplifies what was
in reality a very complex event – remember that
Oswald had not been found guilty in a court of law,
and his assassination made that process impossible.
The ‘law of the gun’ had closed the case.
Straightforward and full of impact. Three simple
headlines: The first: ‘I’m no hero – I did it for Jackie’
were Ruby’s words. The two word ‘splash’ headline:
THE EXECUTIONER needs no explanation. At the
bottom of the page, the newspaper tells its readers
that a ‘Sketch man’ was there to see the assassin
‘die by the law of the gun’. Then, of course, the
stunning picture full of movement , emotion, pain,
shock and even horror, running across the full width
of the tabloid.
Link to other interesting front pages about the
Daily Herald, November 23, 1963: Kennedy
Daily Mirror, June 6, 1968: God! Not again –
Robert Kennedy assassinated

The newspaper
The Times
The date
January 25, 1965
The news event
The death of Winston Churchill
What you see
For the time a very unusual front page from The
Times. This was the first time that advertisements
had been taken off the front page. It was not until
May 3, 1966 that they were removed altogether. The
great man’s death was a major news event and took
up many pages as well as entire supplements in every
national newspaper.
Churchill died on January 24, 1965 at the age of 90.
He had been an MP for 65 years. He had been Prime
Minister twice – during World War lI from 1940 to
1945 and from 1950 to 1955. His wartime leadership
saved Britain from being taken over by the Nazis and
Germany after negotiations had failed. He was
honoured with a state funeral, the first for a non-
Royal family member since William Gladstone, the
former Prime Minister, in 1898. Many hundreds of
thousands lined the streets of London to see the great
procession go by. Millions more watched in black and
white, on their televisions. Churchill was a national
hero, historian, and world statesman.
The front page
The Times knew that Churchill had helped form
modern Britain by stopping the Nazis. The Times also
saw itself as the world’s most important newspaper.
The newspaper was read by the most important
people in Britain, those who made government
policies and those who helped to form national
opinions. Because Churchill had suffered a major
heart attack in 1953, The Times, along with all other
national newspapers, would have prepared an
obituary story in advance, to be used when he died.
All newspapers have a file of obituaries written in
advance of famous people’s deaths, so the stories can
be put into the paper very quickly.
Being a ‘serious paper for top people’, The Times was
a ‘broadsheet’ – which is roughly twice the size of a
tabloid newspaper. In this case its size enabled it to
carry a very long article of several thousand words
on the front. You will notice a ‘Royal coat of arms’
on the masthead which the newspaper is not entitled
to carry. The layout is simple with a main line: SIR
typefaces are in the famous Times New Roman font.
The long text is separated by only two photographs.
In one he is shown sitting at a desk looking serious
and important – you can see why he was called a
‘British bulldog’. In the second he is wearing his
famous ‘boiler suit’ (a one-piece outfit, like

The newspaper
Evening Standard
The date
July 21, 1969
The news event
Man lands on the Moon
What you see
This is a ‘Moon Landing’ souvenir issue for the
Evening Standard. Editors ‘mocked up’ the main
image in advance, as real pictures from the moon
were not yet available. ‘Screen grab’ equipment
hadn’t been invented nor had VCRs, CDs or DVDs
After World War II, several nations, chiefly the Soviet
Union and the United States (enemies in the Cold
War) competed to be the first to send rockets, then
animals, then men into space. For many years, the
Soviets led this ‘space race’, sending the first man,
Yuri Gagarin, to orbit the world on April 13, 1961.
But the US was the first country to send men to the
moon. Newspapers knew the astronauts were on their
way and had time to get ready for the great occasion.
The real pictures, seen all over the world, were
released between two and three weeks later. Millions
watched the landing on television – politics, war,
famine and other news stories were pushed to the
back of the queue as the world celebrated an
outstanding example of human endeavour.
The front page
It was a dramatic front page that doubled sales to 1.2
million, but if the Americans had not landed, it would
have been a very expensive mistake. Most
newspapers cleared their front pages of advertising
for such an important event, but the Standard
decided to keep their ads for a German Auto Union
Audi car and in the top left-hand ‘earpiece’ an ad for
AC spark plugs. Perhaps it was a clever idea to mix
old and very new technology.
The design of such big events is usually decided by
the photograph or artwork available. Here the graphic
artists who would have been more used to designing
advertisements devised a clever montage showing the
lunar module. The ‘splash’ headline was simple but
effective: THE FIRST FOOTSTEP. The few words of
copy were typeset in a larger size than normal and
were suitably dramatic
‘Human footsteps crunch noiselessly on lunar soil –
never to be erased for perhaps a million years.
‘One of the two brave men gazes at this alien world
through gold visors with almost unbelieving eyes. No
wind, nor rain, or words shatter the eerie silence.
They are there!’
The enormous photograph stretched across the page
is brilliantly dramatic – almost like a cinema screen
revealing to the reader a whole new world.

The newspaper
The Daily Mirror
The date
August 10, 1974
The news event
United States President, Richard Nixon, resigns
What you see
This tabloid front page focuses on one story. The
page is simple, yet dramatic enough to capture the
readers’ attention. It shows the departure of the most
powerful man in the world, the American President,
who was facing a trial over illegal activities.
Richard Nixon was first elected president in 1968.
A right-wing Republican leader, Nixon sought to
win the hearts of Middle Americans by promising
to uphold traditional conservative values.
In June 1972, five men were arrested for burgling the
headquarters of the rival political party, the
Democrats. It later transpired that the so called
‘burglars’ were working for the Republican Party, and
had broken into the Democratic offices in order to
bug them. As the scandal unfolded it became clear
that the Republican ‘Campaign to re-elect the
President’(or CREEP) had been involved in a series of
complex illegal activities: bugging political opponents,
organising smear campaigns, blackmailing
corporations into donating funds. Nixon became
tangled in a massive cover up, trying to control the
police investigation into the crime, and to hide the
many links between his administration and the
criminal activities.
Bizarrely, it eventually came to light that throughout
his presidency, Nixon had taped all his own telephone
conversations and meetings. Ironically, it was these
tapes that would incriminate him, providing evidence
that he had indeed attempted to organise a cover up
of the CREEP scandals. The tapes also revealed many
of his anti-black and anti-Semitic views. Surrounded
by scandal, Nixon was eventually forced to resign in
The burgled Democratic headquarters were housed in
the Watergate complex, and this scandal became
known as ‘Watergate’.
The front page
The Daily Mirror, was a left-wing newspaper, and
would have been very pleased when this story broke.
Before Nixon resigned, newspapers across the world
had been calling for him to go. Although British
tabloid newspapers did not carry as much news from
abroad as the more serious newspapers such as The
Times, The Guardian or The Daily Telegraph, this was
a major scandal which concerned Britain as America
was, and is, Britain’s closest ally or friend.
The design, like so many tabloid front pages of the
time, is centred around a dramatic photograph. This
was a disgraced leader who did not intend to go
quietly. The photograph was cut out to allow for the
masthead, and a thick rule was put on the left-hand
side to make it stronger. The ‘splash’, or main
headline, used a very common device of having white
type on a black background. The line – GOODBYE
AMERICA – perhaps betrays the sense of relief felt by
the newspaper journalists. The only other element on
the front page was a cross-reference to a horse racing
tipster’s story on the back page, just in case some
readers were not interested in the story above.

The newspaper
The Sun
The date
August 17, 1977
The news event
Rock superstar Elvis Presley dies
What you see
This is a simple front page reporting the news of the
death of Elvis, the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll. The
headlines tell the story. Elvis’s death affected millions
of fans across the world. At the time it would have
been slightly unusual to lead on a ‘showbiz’ story -
now it is commonplace. Today the tabloids will very
often ignore a major ‘news’ story and run one about
a TV soap star or celebrity.
Elvis Presley, born into a poor family on January 8
1935 in Tupelo, Mississippi, is credited by many as the
man who made modern music popular. By 1956,
aged 21, he was selling more records in a month than
50 top British artists put together. He had number
one hits across the world and made 31 movies. His
records still sell by the million every year. The public
was horrified when he died aged only 42. He was
severely overweight and had a serious drug addiction.
He died alone at his home, Graceland, which is visited
each year by hundreds of thousands of fans.
The front page
In the 1970s The Sun was changing the way tabloids
reported the news. Why? While many people think it
is sensational to have major stories on minor TV stars,
few people would have said it was wrong to carry
such a front page on such a star.
The designers and editors on The Sun, and other
tabloids, often write the headline first and then design
the page around it. The ‘splash’ or main headline was
straightforward: ‘KING ELVIS DEAD’. Some might
have written: KING ELVIS DIES to make it more active
but the word ‘dies’ would not have fitted with the
other words above it. Then the editors would have
written words to fill the space next to the masthead.
The picture would have been placed and trimmed to
fit down to the bottom of the page with a caption.
Because there was no picture of him actually dead in
the bathroom where he was found, the journalists
would have searched their picture library for a
suitable image. The story would have been edited
and positioned and the rest of the page filled up.
The only other different piece of the jigsaw was a
‘wob’ (white on black headline) at the bottom:

The newspaper
The Sun
The date
May 4, 1982
The news event
Argentine cruiser attacked by British submarine
What you see
This is one of the most controversial front pages
in recent history. The Sun seemed to be using the
power of its front page to make fun of people dying
during the Falklands War. The headline uses the
language of a football crowd, or a game show. It is
the language of winners and losers. The headline
outraged many members of the public, and as soon
as Kelvin MacKenzie, the Suns’s editor, realised this
the front page was pulled. This kind of language, it
was soon clear, could create a scandal, and scandals
are bad for business. Only a few thousand copies of
this design were actually issued.
This front page was printed on May 4, 1982, just
over one month after Argentina invaded the Falkland
Islands, a British territory in the South Atlantic. The
islands which are situated off the coast of Argentina
had been claimed by Britain in 1833. Now the
Argentines were claiming it back. Having invaded
the islands, the Argentine army rapidly put up their
flag over Government House in the islands’ capital,
Port Stanley. Britain immediately assembled a naval
force and set out to re-capture the islands. The war
that followed cost the lives of 655 Argentine and 255
British servicemen, most of whom were sailors killed
during attacks on warships. Many saw this as a
pointless war, an arrogant show of old fashioned
British imperialism, which cost too many lives. The
war ended on June 14 when the Argentines
surrendered to British troops.
The front page
Early in May news came through to London that
Argentina’s only cruiser (a big naval ship), the General
Belgrano had been hit by torpedoes fired from a
British nuclear submarine. Of the approximately 1000
men on board, 368 died. When the news of the
Belgrano came through, the first British newspaper to
go to press was The Sun. One of the news executives
said ‘Gotcha’ when she heard about the attack. It
seemed to The Sun editors just the right headline to
use for the story. Below this are similarly cartoon-like
words: ‘crippled’, ‘a devastating double punch’,
‘wallop’ ‘The navy had the Argies on their knees’.
Many believe the front page was tasteless and
sensationalist. Given that hundreds had died in the
attack, was it appropriate to use this tone?
The massive headline dominates the front page. It
was designed to be visible from many feet away as,
for many people, it would have provided the first
insight into what had happened in the South Atlantic.
Once the headline had been ‘blown up’ or expanded,
the rest of the puzzle was put into place. The pictures
of the gunboat that had been sunk, and the cruiser
that was holed by torpedoes would have come
from ‘stock’ (a collection of photographs kept in the
newspaper library). At the top of the page there is
‘ragout’, or cut-out of a headline and story previously
used about the QE2 liner being brought in to carry
British troops to the war. Next to it is a typical tabloid
device to get readers to think their newspaper is the
best – a small story saying The Sun told readers first
about the story, not other newspapers. Underneath
the ‘sub-heading’; ‘Our lads sink gunboat and hole
cruiser’ is a ‘logo’ (Battle for the islands) which the
newspaper would have used throughout their
reporting of the war.

The newspaper
The Daily Mail, continental edition
The date
October 25, 1929
The news event
The American stock market collapses.
What you see
This was the most important financial news story of
the first half of the twentieth century. Nearly half the
page was taken up by the shocking news from the
United States. In those days before television, and
before the widespread use of radio, newspapers
like this one would have been snapped up all over
the western world. The way the newspaper has
portrayed the page is an illustration of how important
this event was.
Why was this event so important? World War I
destroyed the old system of free trade and the British
Empire’s economy. Britain had to sell most of its
foreign investment to pay for the war. Large parts of
the manufacturing industry of France and Belgium
were destroyed and, as a result, manufacturing began
to grow in India, South America and Asia. The United
States became the clear winner in the world as it did
not enter the war until 1917, one year before it
ended. By 1920 it had become the world’s greatest
industrial power, the biggest world trader and the
richest banker. New York, where Wall Street is
situated, took over from London as the financial
capital of the world. The Wall Street crash happened
on October 1929 when share prices of many
companies began to rocket. Frightened investors
who had put all their money into these companies
began to sell at any price – 30 million shares were
traded in the space of five days – which caused the
Stock Market to collapse. Following the Wall Street
crash, America went into what became known as
the Great Depression. Lack of money led to mass
unemployment in America and Europe. 58 years later,
on October 19, 1987, Wall Street crashed again.
The front page
It was obvious what the main story of the day was
going to be. The crash of Wall Street affected
companies and nations all over the world. If the value
of manufacturing and trading companies is worked
out by the worth of the shares invested in them, then
if those shares collapse, the companies will go down
as well.
Design: Very typical of the time. A mass of stories
falling down the page from the top. The ‘splash’ or
main headline runs right across the page: GREATEST
left a stack of different headlines in different point
sizes continue to tell the story until the article takes
19,000,000 SHARES CHANGE
Even the article itself is broken up into several sections
with a ‘breaker’ or cross-head (line of type) above
each one. The main image of the New York Stock
Exchange is very boring but it is difficult to know
what else they could have put in its place in the time
available. The rest of the big front page is taken up
with several news stories:
Great Film Fire at Hollywood; Attempt to kill Prince
Humbert; Search for new French Premier; Plane
missing in Channel gale and a few advertisements.
To modern eyes, this front page is very hard to read
and follow.

The newspaper
The Sun
The date
April 9, 1992
The news event
The General Election when Neil Kinnock was the
Labour Party leader
What you see
This is a classic example of the use of ‘personality
politics’ started by Sun editor Kelvin MacKenzie. It is
a striking front page, bringing a lot of humour into
the serious business of politics and a general election.
But it caused a lot of anger among Labour party
The Conservative Party under John Major was
fighting to stay in power against a determined bid by
the Labour Party. The Conservatives had held onto
government control since Mrs Thatcher became
Britain’s first woman Prime Minister on May 4, 1979.
She had resigned two years earlier in November
1990. At the time most national newspapers, with the
possible exception of The Independent , supported
one or other of the three main political parties. The
Sun and its owner, Rupert Murdoch, supported the
Conservatives, mainly because he thought the
members of that party would support his growing
media empire in Britain. (Later on The Sun came out
in support of Tony Blair). Kelvin MacKenzie had little
time for politicians of whatever party. He has been
quoted as saying that: ‘As a newspaper is an
unlicensed product . . . it means that the paper
can/will/must reflect the prejudices or delights of an
editor or owner. This gives an editor a unique power
. . . to damn or praise the most powerful in the land.
And if you intend to give the mighty a mauling then
the front page is the best place to do it.’ In this case,
his target was Neil Kinnock who did lose the election
and then blamed The Sun for it. Many would
question MacKenzie’s claim, and ask whether
newspapers have a duty to leave the ‘personality
politics’ behind and report political facts truthfully
and carefully. Is the ‘unique power’ of the newspaper
editor a good thing for British politics?
The front page
It is likely that the editors wrote the headline first:
‘If Kinnock wins today will the last person to leave
Britain please turn out the lights.’ They then worked
out how to fill the rest of the page. The paper
shamelessly mixes news and comment, so that the
editor’s opinions are starkly obvious. But this is
nothing new – see the front page from the Daily
Mirror at the time of the general election on July 5,
1945 elsewhere on this website.
After writing the headline there would have been a
discussion about how to illustrate the page, and make
the headline more powerful. When there was no
obvious single photograph, the decision was taken to
ask a graphic artist to place an image of Kinnock
inside a light bulb. Perhaps to show the paper’s true
colours on that day, the background to the headline
was a Tory blue. Above the main story was a simple
headline: PHOTO FINISH, and another story saying
the election was going to be a close run contest. It is
surprising that the paper did not take up the whole of
the front page with the Kinnock story, but instead
found room to squeeze in a narrow single column
story in the first column about former Wimbledon
tennis champion Arthur Ashe developing Aids.

The newspaper
The Independent
The date
April 24, 1992
The news event
How the Universe began
What you see
This is a striking example of how The Independent
re-defined the kind of stories that could be classed
as news. The Independent’s designers would also
have a major influence over the future of design in
broadsheet front pages.
During the 1980s and 1990s, as scientific knowledge
increased, many more questions were asked about
where and how the universe began. The main
findings became known as the Big Bang Theory.
Many people took a great interest in the subject,
although the theory was so complex few ordinary
people really understood it in much depth. The reason
for this front page was explained in the ‘strapline’ or
headline that runs at the top of the page: A NASA
spacecraft has detected echoes of the galaxies’ birth
fourteen thousand million years ago. The discovery
about the formation of the stars after the Big Bang
has been hailed by excited scientists as the Holy Grail
of Cosmology.
The front page
It was, and is, extremely unusual for a story about
cosmology (the study of the nature of the universe)
to become the main or ‘splash’ story on a newspaper.
But this was an unmissable chance to show how The
Independent could help set the news agenda. Science
Editor Tom Wilkie and his deputy Susan Watts worked
out a way of telling the story so that the average
reader of The Independent could understand it. It
was a good example of the role of a newspaper as
a ‘teacher’.
The dominant feature of this front page is the graphic
which was remarkable for its time. Drawn up by
graphic artist Michael Roscoe it dramatically told the
story. It was produced on an Apple Mac computer
using a drawing programme called Adobe Illustrator.
It was the designer’s job to make sure that the overall
layout and design fitted together. The software used
was an Atex newspaper typesetting system. The full-
page make-up system did not like running text
around cut-out images which is often done today. As
a result, stepping blocks of text were used to
accommodate the fan-shaped graphic. In the end the
story was boxed off and an editor was able to write
the headline of his or her life: ‘How the universe
began.’ At the time it was printed it in black and
white but later on it was printed it as a full colour
graphic poster.

The newspaper
The Independent
The date
January 8, 2004
The news event
Global warming and the extinction of the species
What you see
Another strong graphic treatment from The
Independent showing how global warming will
cause the extinction of a million species.
During the 1990s and 2000s scientists were
increasingly concerned about the effects of global
warming. They said that the heating up of the
atmosphere would make the ozone layer thinner. The
increased temperature would speed up the melting of
the polar ice caps and cause rising sea levels and the
death of many species.
The front page
This was a good front page for The Independent to
choose. Why? Because the paper is not afraid to lead
the front page with stories that would in the past
have been called ‘soft’ stories. This is a major story,
and as such demands a major treatment. This involves
giving over most of the front page to the story and
graphic, which will have a strong impact at the POS
(or point of sale, i.e. newsagents or news sellers
around the country). Since its launch in 1986, The
Independent has set new standards in design, layout
and the use of computer graphics. This was good
example of preparing a story and the illustration to
go with it in advance. National daily newspapers will
first check to see whether there is a good photograph
available before deciding how the front page will be
The graphic, which runs across seven columns, is the
dominating image on the page. The world is
portrayed on a spread-out map, and animals from
various continents and countries are displayed around
it to show which ones are most at risk from global
warming. The page designer has allowed for a long
but strong ‘splash’ or main headline: ‘Revealed: how
global warming will cause extinction of a million
species’. Across the top of the page is a ‘promo’ or
‘puff’ panel or ‘skyline’ that aims to ‘sell’ to the reader
what they can expect to find inside the newspaper
that day. There is a great debate among designers
and editors as to whether this panel should be placed
above or below the masthead, whether it should run
down an outside or inside column or whether it
should be there at all. In this case it seems right to
place it where it is, although it seems to dominate
the paper’s masthead because of the strong colours
it contains.

The newspaper
The Daily Telegraph
The date
September 12, 2001
The news event
Terrorist attacks on New York and Washington
What you see
A frightening, stunning image of the giant World
Trade Centres in New York soon after two planes
controlled by terrorists crashed into the side of the
buildings. Giant plumes of smoke billow up from the
top of the buildings, while fire rages a few floors
below. Meanwhile millions of fragments of glass,
concrete and other materials explode outwards from
the side of the buildings. Being in New York, the
world’s most photogenic city, there were many
opportunities to capture shocking and powerful
For the United States and the rest of the Western
world, terrorism was nothing new. Problems in
Northern Ireland and in the Middle East, had led to
numerous terrorist attacks in recent decades. But
terrorism rarely hit within America itself. The last thing
most Americans expected in September 2001 was an
attack within their own country. It was a horrific
terrorist act – almost 3000 people died, including 319
New York firemen. Immediately America launched
what amounted to an all-out ‘war on terrorism,’
directed especially against the terrorist group, Al
Qaeda, led by Osama Bin Laden. This was because Al
Qaeda had claimed responsibility for the attacks.
Since September 11th, George Bush and Tony Blair
have waged war on Iraq – a move seen by many as a
macho show of power, a misplaced revenge attack
against a country that was not involved in the twin
tower attacks. As a result of this war, tens of
thousands of Iraqi civilians have been killed. Many
believe that the war on Iraq has fuelled anti-Western
feeling and, in doing so, has increased support for
extremist organisations.
The front page
The day after the twin towers were attacked, all
national newspapers cleared their front pages,
illustrating this shocking story with dramatic images.
Inside pages were packed with further reports and
photographs. This is a sinister front page. The
headline is extremely dramatic. It immediately
classifies the event as a ‘war’, differentiating it from a
normal terrorist attack and, in some ways, anticipating
the vengeful action taken by George W. Bush. The
picture seems to be straight out of a disaster movie.
The imagery is now iconic, shattered skyscrapers, a
crumbling city, destruction at the heart of American
economic life – at the time, the image suggested the
end of the world as we knew it.
Design: These kinds of events are often the easiest
front pages to design, as so many dramatic images
are available. On top of this, many thousands of eye-
witnesses provided first hand accounts of events. For
this reason, editors had no shortage of words to fill
their pages. Here, the image was prepared and the
headline, ‘War on America,’ was written in a very
large point size. The only major decision in terms of
design was how deep to run the picture and how
many words to carry on the front page.