Front Page Visual Messages of the Pandemic

· Pay close attention to the main photos or graphics on the front page above the fold. Also look at the captions for these images. Remember your focus needs to be on the coronavirus coverage.


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Then respond to this prompt:


How did the New York Times’ front pages capture fear, loneliness, OR grief in their front pages from March 2020 to June 2020? What visual techniques were observable in photos that may have evoked this particular reaction?

Basic parameters:


Your audience for the essay: An academic audience interested in legacy media and the depiction of Covid-19 from what is considered America’s paper of record, The New York Times.


Your purpose: You are writing a visual analysis, with a focus on the dominant front page imagery (photos and/or graphics above the fold.) For more on visual analysis, see Chapter 14, pages 256-257. The fourth bullet is especially important for this assignment.

· A description of the visual

· Some contextual information

· Attention to any words

· Close analysis of the message

· Insight into what the visual “says”

· Precise language


Page length: 3-4 pages. Remember that three pages should mean three full pages.


Other parameters:

· The essay needs to be written in third person only. That means no first person and no second person.

· There should be no research for this assignment. Any “outside” sources tend to distract students from any sort of visual analysis. If students focus too much on outside elements, then analysis is more about content than it is rhetoric.

· You are writing an academic essay. Remember the importance of these elements.

o Ideas

o Organization

o Development

o Audience

o Style

o Grammar and Mechanics

o Format

· In addition, remember the secondary prose-style rubric, the one with a paragraph for A, B, C, D, and F.

· I will provide a basic template for the Works Cited.

· Works Cited for photos

Berehulak, Daniel. Family at Funeral in Tonanitla , Mexico. New York Times, 10 Sept. 2020,

o In the author slot is the photographer. Look at the credit line of the photo, usually found in the bottom right corner.

o The next slot is odd because there’s no title of the source. Photos, unlike articles, are often not named. (Caption is not the same as a headline.) Therefore, MLA’s guideline is to provide a description. Since this is not a title, no quotes are used.

o Next is the container. New York Times All containers need to be in italics.

o Next is the date. Day month year.

o Then use this template for the URL. This sample would be from January 3rd, 2020. Just change the month and the day. Everything else is the same.

· Works Cited for infographics and other images that are not photos (less common)

Gamio, Lazaro. “How Coronavirus Cases Have Changed Since Each State Reopened.” New York Times, 11 July 2020,

o Unlike the photo, infographics often have titles.

· How many front pages should you consult? It’s up to you, but that last thing you want to do is have a paragraph full of lists. Analysis is by nature coherent. However, the amount of front pages to consult depends on a lot of different variables, such as thesis, topics, etc.

o Still, your essay needs to be organized and coherent and focus, with rhetorically effective prose.

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