The New York Times covers front page with names of 1,000 COVID-19 victims

ST Staff
Sunday, 24 May 2020

The front page of The New York Times for May 24, 2020, was devoid of any photographs, news articles, ads- but just names and one line anecdotes of the lives lost due to the virus.

The front page of Sunday's New York Times read "U.S. DEATHS NEAR 100,000, AN INCALCULABLE LOSS."

Indeed, the total Covid-19 pandemic losses are incalculable. As coronavirus continues to grip the US taking the death toll nearly 100,000, the New York Times has dedicated its entire Sunday front page and three inside to naming U.S coronavirus victims.

The front page is devoid of any photographs, news articles, ads- but just names and one line anecdotes of the lives lost due to the virus. The whole list, which goes on inside, numbers nearly 1,000 names - a fraction of the total loss of life in the US so far during the outbreak.

Many experts say the death toll for Covid-19 is even worse, as some victims died at home or were not counted for other reasons. The Times have planned ways to take stock of what has happened in the past few months.

The assistant editor of the Graphics desk, Simone Landon, wanted to represent the number in a way that conveyed both the vastness and the variety of lives lost as told by The New York Times.

She has chosen to name people than to put 100,000 dots because that won't tell anyone who these people were and how valuable they were for the country.

Researcher Alain Delaquérière combed online for obituaries and death notices through various sources with Covid-19 written as the cause of death. He compiled a list of almost 1000 names from hundreds of newspapers. In addition to three graduate student journalists, a team of editors from across the newsroom read them and gleaned phrases that depicted the uniqueness of every lost life.

Here are few names and one line anecdotes which read on the page:

Frank Gabrin, 60, was an "emergency room doctor who died in his husband's arms."

Lila Fenwick, 87, was "the first black woman to graduate from Harvard Law."

Philip Kahn, 100, "World War II veteran whose twin died in the Spanish Flu epidemic a century ago."

Tom Bodkin, chief creative officer said that during his 40 years at The Times, he did not remember any front pages without images. The list, threaded with an essay by Dan Barry, a Times reporter and columnist, continues inside the paper.

According to Johns Hopkins University tracker, the death toll in the USA is by far the highest in the world.



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