The Mario Blog
The firing of the FBI Director on Page One

It’s the type of news that stuns, surprises and gets the adrenalin flowing for editors in newsrooms everywhere. On Tuesday, May 9, a news of such magnitude happened: President Trump fired the director of the F.B.I., James B. Comey, abruptly . Let’s look at how the front pages covered the monumental event.

This is a special edition of TheMarioBlog and will remain posted until Friday morning, May 12.

We always prepare for such news events. In some newsrooms, it is called “a 9/11” the day that is not another ordinary day in the news.

That’s exactly the type of day it was Tuesday, May 9, when President Trump fired the director of the F.B.I., James B. Comey, abruptly. while Comey himself was in Los Angeles, unaware of his firing, conducting a session with his Los Angeles FBI colleagues.

The news dominated online and TV news the rest of Tuesday evening and into the morning of Wednesday.  That is why I continue to be surprised that so many of the printed newspapers I have seen, courtesy of, did not take the opportunity to amplify the story on the headline. As you can see in the selection here, most of them simply said something to the effect that “Trump fires FBI Director”.

What makes this news significant, among other things, is that the fired FBI Director was the the top official leading a criminal investigation into whether Mr. Trump’s advisers colluded with the Russian government to steer the outcome of the 2016 presidential election.

Best headline by far

Let’s take a look at the pages.  I think that the Florida newspaper, tbt, published by the Tampa Bay Times, in St. Petersburg,Florida, had the winning headline. Why?

Because it is about the only newspaper I saw that played on the second day angle of the story. This is how print can get ahead, by  seducing readers with a headline that does not smell like yesterday’s news.

How the classics did it

Here is how the classically designed, “national”  newspapers handled the story:

By the way, here is an interesting piece on how the Times went about changing its front page to accommodate the Comey bombshell story.

The New Yorker treatment

Finally, a headline that advances the story beyond what we knew the moment the firing of Comey happened.


Bold and all caps

Many editors decided to pull all the stops with headlines in bold, all capital letters.

The “You’re Fired” brigade

Of course, there were those headline writers who could not resist the bait: to use the phrase made famous by Donald Trump in his reality show, The Apprentice, when he was a TV celebrity.



Those fun, irreverent tabloids


The most elegant presentation: Virginian Pilot

These guys always do such an exquisite job. They’ve done it again.


The ones who downplayed the story a bit



And the rest……most of them with exactly the same headline.



Meanwhile, the online heads were quite big too…..




Most interesting crop of the Comey photo: The Daily Beast



Speaking Engagements Coming Up

SIPConnect 2017, to be held in Miami June 21-23, is a program of the Inter American Press Association, IAPA, or SIP (Sociedad Interamericana de Prensa).  The venue will be the Hilton Miami Downtown Hotel.


Join us at the SIPConnect Hemispheric Conference 2017. Organized by the IAPA, SIPConnect is a gathering of media and digital businesses to encourage more audiences and higher revenues. It’s a laboratory for new ideas and successful experiences for the digital transformation. As in the 2016 successful meeting that was attended by media from the US, Latin America and the Caribbean, experts in digital businesses and representatives of innovative companies will participate in this event.

For more information



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