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Counternarratives by Alexandra Bell: Home

Resources supporting curricular integration of Alex Bell's Counternarratives installations, fall 2018

Counternarratives at Oberlin: October - December 2018

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: Charlottesville2017

Counternarratives is jointly sponsored by the Allen Memorial Art Museum and the Oberlin College Libraries. 

Alexandra Bell and her Counternarratives series

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. 

Questions to ask about front page news

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:

1.  Headlines
Does the headline clarify the news story? Is it misleading? Confusing? 
Does the headline make sense? 

2.  Images
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?