Alexandra Bell's Counternarratives series pairs two versions of a New York Times front page: one as it originally appeared with her editorial marks, the second her revision of the page. For more information see the Allen Museum's Counternarratives exhibition page.
Pictured Below: Charlottesville, 2017
Counternarratives is jointly sponsored by the Allen Memorial Art Museum and the Oberlin College Libraries.
In this video Alexandra Bell (MA Journalism, Columbia University) explains the editorial decisions underlying her revised front page. She applies basic journalistic standards -- such as the importance of the news story, page layout, word choice in headlines and "pull quotes", etc. -- revealing unexpected racial bias.
Art21 Magazine. Reading Critically: Alexandra Bell's "Counternarratives."
Art in America. Striking Nerves: Art and Protest in 2017.
The New York Times. Analyzing Race and Gender Bias Amid All the News That's Fit to Print.
The New Yorker. The "Radical Edits" of Alexandra Bell.
Village Voice. This Brooklyn Artist Is Taking On the Media.
New York Magazine: The Cut. Alexandra Bell Makes Art for the Fake-News Era.
Since front pages are often skimmed (rather than carefully read) journalists carefully select headlines, images and layout to send a clear message. In particular important stories are placed "above the fold" (the middle of the page) or within the first screen (for digital editions). With this in mind, ask yourself the following questions next time you see a newspaper's front page:
Does the headline clarify the news story? Is it misleading? Confusing?
Does the headline make sense?
What images were selected? Are they placed near the related headline or somewhere else?
Do the images clarify or confuse the story? If the latter, what images would be more appropriate?
3. Overall page layout
Do the headlines, pull quotes, and images clearly relate their respective news stories
4. Print vs. digital
Compare the print and digital editions of the same front page; are the headlines, images, pull quotes etc., the same or different?
If the latter, do changes clarify or confuse the news story?