The cover of the New York Times on Sunday will be filled with some of the 1,000 names the paper is printing of Americans who have died from the coronavirus outbreak, a grim reminder of the destruction the virus has caused as the national death toll nears 1,000.
The cover had no pictures, no other stories, just a long list of names that stretched across the entire page and was continued inside. Next to each name was a brief description of the person and what they were like during their lives.
“Alan Lund, 81, Washington, conductor with ‘the most amazing ear,'” one entry read.
“Florencio Almazo Morán, 65, New York City, one-man army,” noted another.
The cover of the paper was shared late on Saturday, showing just the headline “U.S. Deaths Near 100,000, An Incalculable Loss” followed by the long list of names, which were in bold. In an article posted online, the New York Times explained that the project had been in consideration for some time as it became clear that the death toll was nearing 100,000.
Simone Landon, the assistant editor at the newspapers graphics desk, said the newspaper wanted the cover to convey both the vastness of lost and the “variety of lives lost.” Landon added that the newspaper wanted something to mark the grim milestone that would personalize the loss, noting that “there’s a little bit of a fatigue with the data.”
“We knew we were approaching this milestone,” she added.
“We knew that there should be some way to try to reckon with that number.”
Tom Bodkin, the chief creative officer at the newspaper, said they originally considered two concepts — one with all type, and another that would be a grid of hundreds of pictures of people who had lost their lives to COVID-19. Whatever the approach, Bodkin said the team knew they wanted it to take up the entire front page.
Tomorrow’s Sunday New York Times: pic.twitter.com/D0SP6XdmqB
— Michael Beschloss (@BeschlossDC) May 23, 2020
The New York Times has undertaken similar projects during times of great loss, including a digital project that included obituaries for all of the victims of the September 11 terrorist attacks.
The death toll from coronavirus topped 98,000 on Saturday and is expected to cross the 100,000-mark sometime within the coming day or two. Though the rate of deaths has slowed since reaching the peak several weeks ago, many parts of the United States are still struggling with rising numbers of both infections and deaths. Areas have also grappled with how to start loosening restrictions and allowing some non-essential businesses to reopen.