MAN ON MOON: Reflections on how mankind and the media came together on the surface of the moon 50 years ago


Reflections on how mankind and the media came together on the surface of the moon 50 years ago

Photo composite/Ren LaForme


Reflections on how mankind and the media came together on the surface of the moon 50 years ago

Photo composite/Ren LaForme

July 18, 2019

Fifty years ago this weekend, three Americans landed on the moon, an event broadcast live to the whole world. Today, we explore the visuals and storytelling that bounced back to us earthlings, changing our views of science, journalism and possibilities for the future.

'Whew, boy!': Walter Cronkite watched and reacted with the nation

Walter Cronkite anchors the moon landing on July 20, 1969. Click through to watch the video. (Screenshot/YouTube)

As a summer intern, I watched Walter Cronkite and the CBS News team document history

At the time of the Apollo 11 broadcast, Mike Russo was 23 years old and Walter Cronkite’s desk assistant. He recalls running up and down stairs to deliver scripts, taking Cronkite’s lunch order (tuna salad on rye with a Tab soda) and Cronkite’s excited gasp: “What a day!” (Poynter)

War, assassinations, then hope: What the live broadcast of the moon landing meant to America

America had just witnessed John F. Kennedy’s murder, Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination and it was in the midst of the seemingly endless Vietnam War. Then men landed on the moon — while the whole world watched on TV. (Poynter)

Writing history: 'It was the biggest story of my life, at age 30'

In this July 21, 1969, photo in downtown Saigon, Vietnam, U.S. Air Force Sgt. Michael Chivaris of Clinton, Massachusetts; Army Spec. 4 Andrew Hutchins of Middlebury, Vermont; Air Force Sgt. John Whalin of Indianapolis; and Army Spec. 4 Lloyd Newton of Roseburg, Oregon, read a newspaper headlining the Apollo 11 moon landing. (AP Photo/Hugh Van Es)

‘How would this day turn out?’: The reporter covering Apollo 11 for America’s biggest paper recalls July 20, 1969

Mark Bloom was a 30-year-old reporter for the New York Daily News when Apollo 11 landed on the moon. The nation was transfixed. But for Bloom, who had covered a majority of the space launches, “it was becoming almost routine.” And he had reason to expect it to not go as well as it did. (Poynter)

A Roy Peter Clark Q&A: Reporting and writing on Apollo 11

Poynter’s writing coach Roy Peter Clark interviews Mark Bloom about how the then-30-year-old reporter wrote the biggest story of his life: “I tried to remember that I was the fortunate surrogate for my readers, millions of them.” (Poynter)

Shoot for the moon: Preparing to write the biggest story of your life

Roy Peter Clark reflects on the significance of the moon landing, clear to any reporter who was writing the story, and offers seven strategies for journalists facing down a story of similar importance — whatever that may be. (Poynter)

These 50-year-old front pages show how Apollo 11 captivated the country

Jim Carrey improvised the famous scene in “Dumb and Dumber” where, upon seeing a framed newspaper, his character expressed surprise that man had landed on the moon 25 years after it had happened. But, looking at this collection of front pages, it’s easy to feel his awe. (Poynter)

Moon shots: 'Its worldwide publication changed the course of the space race'

This famous Dec. 24, 1968, photo later named "Earthrise," shows the Earth behind the surface of the moon during the Apollo 8 mission. (William Anders/NASA via AP, File)

What ‘Earthrise’ meant to scientists, journalists, artists — and restless teens like me

Babak Tafreshi was a “restless teenager obsessed with science fiction and stargazing” when he first saw “Earthrise” projected on the dome of a planetarium. The National Geographic photojournalist analyzes the photograph and shares the impact it had on his life and humanity. (Poynter)

Who Took the Legendary Earthrise Photo From Apollo 8?

The mission returned to Earth with one of the most famous images in history. It appeared on postage stamps, the covers of catalogs and, eventually, as the background image for Walter Cronkite’s “CBS Evening News.” But who took it? (Smithsonian)

The Onion's infamous spoof: 'It seems like the response that any normal person would have'

The Onion's moon landing cover, from "Our Dumb Century." (Courtesy of The Onion)

‘That was the first headline idea that we had’: The origin story of The Onion’s most hilarious cover

In the late ‘90s, editors of The Onion were planning a satirical book of front pages. Their first headline idea was a very human reaction to man landing on the moon. Said an Onion cofounder: “We were pretty sure no newspaper had ever put ‘Holy Shit’ on the front page in banner headline type.” (Poynter)


We’re pretty sure no newspaper has ever used that also very NSFW lede, either. (The Onion)

Designed by Ren LaForme
Edited by Barbara Allen