Major Newspaper Headlines From the Year You Were Born
An old newsroom witticism suggests that newspapers are called a medium because they are neither rare nor well done.
While the media offers a convenient boogeyman for those who believe their narrative is the only one worth reporting, the truth is that a free press is one of the cornerstones of American democracy, enshrined in the First Amendment to the Constitution.
Long before live-streaming social media reports and crawling news tickers plastered on the bottom of 24-hour cable news channel feeds, the world got its news from newspapers.
Greener's Law states, "Never pick a fight with a man who buys ink by the barrel," a sentiment designed to convey the sheer power of publishing. Newspapers have brought down corrupt presidents, exposed malfeasance during wartime, and crushed the presumption of benevolence associated with powerful religious institutions. They've also connected generations of average people to the larger world around them and provided critical information the public wouldn't have otherwise had.
From World Series victories to epic naval battles and pop culture revolutions to actual revolutions, the events that shape the world have long been told through newspaper articles—and the main point of entry to every article is the headline. Great headlines speak for themselves, and long before online clickbait bloggers rendered the headline more important than the actual article itself, carefully chosen words written in the active voice and printed in large, boldface type, compelled the reader to keep reading.
The day of the local newsboy shouting "Extra! Extra!" to passersby eager to gobble up the latest information is in the past, yet the classic newspaper continues to stain fingers every morning across the country and the world. Likewise, the stories editors select for front-page, above-the-fold, bold-type headline coverage continue to drive the news cycle.
Here's a look at the headlines that captured the moment, spread the word, and helped shape public opinion over the last 100 years.