A week ago, Silent Sam, the monument to the Confederacy on the campus of UNC-Chapel Hill, was toppled by protesters at about 9:15 p.m. Monday. Although it was arguably the biggest news in the state, the incident, which has been decades coming, did not make the front pages of any of the state’s newspapers. It wasn’t an issue of news judgment; thank the early deadlines caused by print schedules — a terrible fallout of the decline of the newspaper business.
Consequently, I suspect the state’s larger papers appreciate the Silent Sam protesters scheduling their rally early in the day Saturday. That rally, in which seven people were arrested, was featured prominently on the front pages of Raleigh, Charlotte and Greensboro.
All three used the same story written by News & Observer & Durham Herald-Sun reporters, which, given the strain on newspaper staffing, makes sense. (I wouldn’t have said the same thing 20 years ago, when newspapers were robust. Diversity of coverage is important.) The N&O also wrote an impressive history of the Silent Sam, which should be required reading for anyone who wants to express an opinion on what should be done next. This is the story the Observer used on its front page.
I couldn’t find any other mention of Saturday’s rally and arrest on the front pages of other N.C. newspapers listed at the Newseum. (The Durham paper isn’t listed on the Newseum, but I’m guessing this was a Page One story.) For the smaller papers, it likely wasn’t local enough. Fayetteville went big with Sen. John McCain’s death, which, given its military interest, makes sense. Winston-Salem’s front is all about an 8-year-old boy with a rare genetic disorder. However, the New York Times and the Washington Post both had stories today on their websites and, given their large Sunday edition, likely in the print editions.
While it doesn’t have a newsprint front page today, I would be remiss in not mentioning the coverage by the Daily Tar Heel, which was excellent Saturday — I followed its outstanding Twitter feed, which included a lot of video — and has been outstanding all week.
Meanwhile, as for the rest of the Sampler today, newspaper front pages were dominated by Sen. John McCain’s death and back to school stories.