“Fear of Pandemic Rises”
…was the very first article about the Coronavirus that appeared on the New York Times’ front page on January 21st. This analysis takes a look at every front page from 2020, tracking stories and illustrating how our news coverage became about one thing only.
- Democratic Primaries
- Conflict with Iran
- Trump’s Impeachment
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Notes on the methodology: each 2020 New York Times front page has been annotated by single-theme stories that have consistently appeared for more than a week. Minor stories at the bottom of the front page have not been annotated. Coronavirus-related stories are not further split into subtopics (e.g. health, economics, or politics) because New York Times themselves don’t. The usual double-line marking hasn’t been used for Coronavirus, because articles often touch on multiple subtopics.
Before delving into more detail about each week, it’s worthwhile to take a bird eye’s view at the year so far, and how the news coverage transition happened on macro scale.
The beginning of the year showed the usual cycle: there is usually one long-term story (Conflict with Iran for the first two weeks, Trump’s Impeachment for the following three), but this story almost never fully covers the front page. As the story resolves, something else fills the void — in this case more focus on the Democratic Primaries race.
Coronavirus does not fit this usual cycle. Starting with early March, almost every front page is exclusively covering the pandemic. These are not usual times — and this project explores these unusual New York Times front pages.
Below, you can read a Week by Week analysis, highlighting what topics where the most prominent each week.