University of Iowa journalism professor Stephen Bloom’s recent article in The Atlantic about his life in Iowa has provoked strong reaction from state residents. His story evokes stereotypes of Iowa that could make the folks from “American Gothic” feel quite at home.
Much has been written about Bloom’s piece, and I’ll avoid sharing my true feelings on this stage. However, I am interested in historical accuracy. In particular, I was intrigued with how The Gazette displayed its signature Page 1 package on Easter Sunday following Bloom’s arrival in 1993.
Here’s what Bloom recalled about The Gazette’s Page 1 in 1994:
“When my family and I first moved to Iowa, our first Easter morning I read the second-largest newspaper in the state (the Cedar Rapids Gazette) with this headline splashed across Page One: HE HAS RISEN. The headline broke all the rules I was trying to teach my young journalism students: the event was neither breaking nor could it be corroborated by two independent sources. The editors obviously thought that everyone knew who He was, and cared.”
I have access to our company’s front page from that date. I noticed there’s a small Bible verse on the front page which contain the words “(H)e has risen.” I also notice the main headline reads “Murder Drama,” of which I presume without reading the story does not contain any crucifixion references.
Anyway, see for yourself how The Gazette played its front page on Easter Sunday in 1994. I tend to see the religious aspect of that day’s newspaper as less splash and more dribble, kind of like Bloom’s 4,000-word embellishment.