50th Anniversary of Selma Marches

President Obama commemorated the 50th anniversary of the Selma marches, where peaceful protestors where beaten by police officers.

Many different news outlets, some of which included the New York Times, Fox News, and a blog post done for the Washington Post, covered the event.

Each article started off with the same type of lede, stating that President Obama had spoken in Selma, Alabama, to reflect on the country then and now. All of the articles mentioned those that were in attendance and referenced powerful figureheads who were not in attendance as well.

The articles also quoted sources other than the President, such as Gov. Robert Bentley, Rep. John Lewis and accounts from those in the crowd who were there to celebrate the changes in our country over the past 50 years, but acknowledging the racial tension that still exist today.

Videos were used in all of the articles as well. The New York Times used a video of Obama’s speech, Fox News linked their broadcast coverage of the event and the Washington Post linked a video, highlighting moments of Obama’s speech.

Although, some aspects of the articles were covered similarly, there were a lot of differences as well.

In it’s coverage of the event the New York Times, labeled Alabama as the “front lines of what some see as the modern-day successor to the civil rights movement,” regarding the issue of gay marriage rights. The article said that Obama did make several references to gay rights, but did not directly address the fight over marriage in Alabama.

Fox News compared the city of Selma now to what it was like 50 years ago. The article said the population declined by 40 percent to 20,000. Today public schools in Selma are nearly all black, while most whites attend private schools.

The Washington Post blog used the words “I” and “we,” taking on a more narrative approach to the events as they unfolded and the history of our nation as a whole.

The blog also linked a tweet from John Lewis. His tweet is a photo of him and Obama hugging with the words, “ when people tell me nothing has changed, I say come walk in my shoes and I well show you change. #Slema50.”

Screen Shot 2015-03-08 at 12.44.37 PM

While reading the New York Times today I found the article covering the anniversary. I then did a Google search and found the Fox News article and then the Washington Post blog.

I think the best coverage of the event was the New York Times. The article also mentioned today’s civil rights issues, including gay marriage rights.

The headline for the New York Times article, “Obama, at Selma Memorial, Says, ‘We Know the March Is Not Yet Over’,” is dramatic and accurately summarizes the article.

The headline photo of Obama walking hand in hand with hundreds of marchers behind him, showed a powerful message of unity and strength in a nation that has come so far in the last 50 years.

Photo taken by Doug Mills, New York Times
Photo taken by Doug Mills, New York Times

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