Thousands of people gathered in Washington, D.C., today to mark the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington on Wednesday. News organizations have been covering the anniversary for weeks — by featuring stories about people who were at the march, creating social media experiments and resurfacing old photos.
Here’s a look at some standout coverage. If you worked on something you think we should consider adding, please link to it in the comments section of this piece, or tweet it to @Poynter with the hashtag #marchcoverage.
Looking at the dream, 50 years later
- NBC News’ “Dream Day” RebelMouse page features people sharing their dreams in recognition of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech, which he gave during the Aug. 28, 1963 march.
- The Public Insight Network asked readers: “What is the march’s significance to you today?“
- The headline on a McClatchy piece by William Douglas reads: “Half a century later, is this what Martin Luther King dreamed?” Douglas pointed out that while there’s been a lot of progress, there’s still work to be done.
- Digital First Media’s Amber Phillips highlighted key measures of the progress.
Using social media to collect stories about the march, dream
- ABC News-Univision’s Fusion asked its audience to use the hashtag #FusionDream and post Vine videos and Instagram photos of themselves completing this sentence: “I still have a dream that ________.” Fusion then created a RebelMouse page featuring the responses. (Here’s more on RebelMouse, in case you’re not familiar with it.)
- As part of its anniversary coverage, NPR’s “Tell Me More” asked people to share their modern-day dreams using the hashtag #mydream. NPR also created a @Todayin1963 Twitter account, which features moments from the summer of 1963. Kat Chow of NPR’s Code Switch has been running the account.
- MSNBC posed the question: “How are you advancing the dream?” It encouraged people to use the hashtag #advancingthedream and post photos via Twitter and Instagram. Several people participated and posted photos of themselves with captions that answered the question. (MuckRack has a list of journalists who have tweeted the #advancingthedream hashtag.)
Highlighting stories from people involved in the march
- On Aug. 7, The New York Times asked readers to share their stories about the march. Last Friday, it published thoughtful recollections from people who were at the march. Rosetta Canada-Hargrove, 70, from Henderson, N.C., shared this memory with the Times:
“I was not that close up on Martin when he spoke, he was like a dot, almost, but you could hear him. When he started talking, everybody got quiet. You didn’t hear babies crying or anything. It was just still. And the momentum that started to build up, you saw people crying. I was crying. And you saw people, strangers, black and white, hugging each other. Even now when I hear the speech, I’ll start crying. I don’t care where I am, tears will start coming.”
- Time magazine published a commemorative issue and created a “One Dream” interactive site that features interviews with Maya Angelou, Jesse Jackson, Malala Yousafzai, Colin Powell and activists and march attendees.
- PBS published videos of people who were at the march and aired a related hour-long documentary earlier this week.
- The Root recognized “the badass women of the march,” including Rosa Parks, Daisey Bates and Josephine Baker, who wrote this memorable speech.
- The Florida Times-Union writes about Asa Philip Randolph, “the often overlooked inspiration for the March on Washington.”
- The Montgomery Advertiser did video interviews with local residents, including a civil rights attorney and State Sen. Hank Sanders, who is attending the anniversary march. He told the Advertiser he regretted not having gone in 1963.
“I’m going for that reason, but also because I think we are losing the rights we won in the ’60s and in the decades following,” he said. … This is an opportunity for me to join others who want to send a message that we intend to not go quietly back, but that we intend to stand and fight.”
- The Times-Picayune captured how MLK’s speech affected New Orleanians.
Remembering & critiquing coverage, 50 years later
- WGBH in Boston published the 1963 broadcast schedule. The coverage lasted for 15 uninterrupted hours, from 9 a.m. to midnight. On Wednesday, WGBH will be live streaming the 50th anniversary coverage during those same hours.
- The Associated Press republished its 1963 story about the march.
- Robert G. Kaiser, an associate editor of The Washington Post, wrote a piece about why the paper “blew” its 1963 coverage of the march. Kaiser, who had been covering it as a summer intern, said the paper was “poised and ready for a riot, for trouble, for unexpected events — but not for history to be made”:
In that paper of Aug. 29, 1963, The Post published two dozen stories about the march. Every one missed the importance of King’s address. The words “I have a dream” appeared in only one, a wrap-up of the day’s rhetoric on Page A15 — in the fifth paragraph. We also printed brief excerpts from the speeches, but the three paragraphs chosen from King’s speech did not include “I have a dream.”
I’ve never seen anyone call us on this bit of journalistic malpractice. Perhaps this anniversary provides a good moment to cop a plea. We blew it.
- The Chicago Sun-Times also published a March on Washington mea culpa.
- Meg Heckman wrote a Columbia Journalism Review piece about why more newspapers should apologize for their coverage of the march.
- The Atlantic’s Andrew Cohen wrote about what today’s journalists can learn from the MLK coverage.
Resurfacing photos from the march
- History.com has a slideshow of photos from the march, along with an interactive timeline of black history milestones.
Here are some recent AP photos: