MILES REED: We’re all witnesses to history as it’s happening

Daily Gazette front pages from January
Daily Gazette front pages from January

When I retire and look back on my newspaper career, a handful of news events will undoubtedly stand above the rest.

Early on, there was the fall of the Iron Curtain, a momentous period of time that felt especially poignant for Cold War kids like me who grew up with the always-present specter of nuclear war.

Then there was 9/11 and all of the horror and anguish that accompanied it.

And now I have January 2021.

Over the span of 15 days earlier this month, back-to-back-to-back events transpired that were unlike anything else I’ve seen in my years in the newsroom.

They’ll surely have a prominent spot in the history books forever more.

It started with the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection and ended with the inauguration of a new president and the first-ever woman to serve as vice president.

In between, President Donald Trump was impeached for inciting the insurrection. My head is still spinning from the magnitude of it all.

Over three successive Thursdays, the Gazette documented these momentous events with front pages and inside photo spreads designed to reflect the significance.

For the front page on Jan. 7, page designer John Thorpe went big and bold with a dominant Associated Press photo of Trump supporters scaling the side of the U.S. Capitol during the siege.

The main headline was stark and sober: Chaos at the Capitol.

A week later, on Jan. 14, News Editor Bill Finelli put together a front page with a simple, declarative and historic headline: Trump impeached — again.

Then, this past Thursday, Thorpe was back at it again with an austere A1 design featuring photos of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris.

The main headline, big and bold again, said simply “Renewal and resolve,” words straight from Biden’s address.

The front page also featured a photo of inaugural poet Amanda Gorman and an inspirational story by Gazette reporter Indiana Nash about some school children in Schenectady and Amsterdam who watched the inauguration as part of their school day.

The star of the show in their eyes? There was no question. It was Gorman, a young Black woman with profound courage and grace.

Gorman became the youngest known inaugural poet in the nation’s history and the first National Youth Poet Laureate.

She read her poem, “The Hill We Climb,” which addressed the pain of the past and looked forward to a brighter future.

“Her voice was loud,” one Schenectady school girl told Nash afterward.

“It brought hope and by demonstrating such bravery only sets an example of what the rest of us Americans should be doing.

“Her poem symbolizes hope for our future overall and I’m very inspired by her.”

Collectively, the front pages of Jan. 7, 14 and 21 will serve as part of the record of this period in American history, one that will be studied and debated and written about for years to come.

For our part here at The Gazette, we’re still carefully and vigilantly watching the news unfold before our eyes, eager to do our next big front page on history in the making.

Miles Reed is the editor of The Daily Gazette.

Categories: Opinion

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