By Denise Tessier
In honor of Martin Luther King Jr. day, the Albuquerque Journal did something historic on its Jan. 17 editorial page. For the first time, in my 30-plus -year memory anyway, the editorial cartoon was moved from its top spot on the page, making way for the prominent display of a portrait of the civil rights leader and an article in his honor.
The change was striking, and an indication of respect. The paper also gave its top spot on the front page to a story about a local church service celebrating King, which is what one would expect from the news side of the paper on this national holiday. The front-page story included a “refer” box to the inside editorial page column by the Rev. Charles E. Becknell.
Monday’s editorial page is a good example of how placement on a page gives more “play” and more importance to some stories than others. In this case, the Becknell story ran alongside the Journal’s two daily editorials, above a George Will column and above two editorial cartoons, one of which could have been the lead cartoon for the day, but instead was used to illustrate Will’s column.
Checking Tuesday’s paper the next day revealed Monday’s placement was indeed the exception, and not a new editorial page style, as a cartoon again took the top spot on the page.
(As a side comment, Tuesday’s editorial page also ran, this time with an E.J. Dionne Jr. column, the same cartoon it had run the day before to illustrate George Will. Both articles were about health care, but to run the same cartoon two days looks like a mistake. )