How the Daily News Cover Changed Overnight — Then Changed Again

Events in Ferguson — and angry readers — forced changes in real time.


It may be that this morning’s news is the first you’re hearing of the events in Ferguson, Mo. — how a young unarmed black man was shot by police, how residents protested, and how a militarized police force evidently overreacted — and if it is, well, prepare to get angry.

What’s interesting, from a Philly perspective, is how those events forced changes to the cover of today’s Philadelphia Daily News. Twice. And how that happened says a lot about how media works in 2014.

We don’t know what the cover was originally going to be. We do know, however, that late in the process, editors decided to rip it up and feature Ferguson instead.

And this was the result:

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When that image got Tweeted out by the Daily News around midnight, reader reaction was swift and angry. The consensus? That it made the largely African-American population of Ferguson appear to be responsible for violence that, by many accounts, was initiated and escalated by police there.

A screen grab of some responses:

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At one point, a reader and DN assistant city editor Albert Stumm exchanged words:

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The result? Within minutes, the Daily News editors ripped up the cover and started over again.

Take Two:

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And maybe a little self-congratulation:

The result? Some folks today will see the first cover, some folks the second:

But it’s true: It’s rare that newspapers rip up planned front pages in response to real-time reader feedback. Is that a force that will always be used for good? Who knows? But it shows how technology gives ordinary citizens the power to shape the news report in so-called legacy media operations these days. And that power can still be startling to watch as it gets used in the heat of the moment.