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A PICTURE IS WORTH A THOUSAND WORDS—COVERING THE DEATH OF AN ICON

WENN
WENN

Love her or loathe her, Margaret Thatcher was an indisputable icon of 1980s’ British politics — and the media coverage of her death on April 8th 2013 was as disparate as her polarizing political legacy.

Covering the death of an iconic figure is always interesting to consider pictorially, and whatever your personal views on Thatcher may have been, there is no disputing she had a distinct style and look, with the camera seemingly catching her uniqueness with every snap of the shutter.

PHOTOS: Check Out The British Press’ Coverage Of The Death Of Margaret Thatcher

We asked Chloe Millar, Senior Photo Editor, to take a look at the media coverage of Thatcher’s death, weighing in on what was behind each publication’s choice of image and what the result of that shows.

It was possible to guess a newspaper’s political stance based purely on the front page image they chose to run alongside the story of the death of Baroness Thatcher, who led the Conservative party from 1975 – 1990 and was Britain’s first female Prime Minister, serving from 1979 – 1990.

The collaboration process behind choosing the ultimate image to perfectly compliment the story would certainly have been intense. Combined with a strong headline, the photo is key to what draws readers in to the story, it’s responsible for sales, editorial vision, tone, and most importantly… impact.

Each newsroom editor would have worked closely with the photo desk, pouring over thousands of images of Thatcher — all knowing that the chosen image had to perfectly reflect the publication’s political stance on the subject at hand.

The majority of Britain’s right leaning papers — who have always covered Conservative party issues, policies and figures in a more positive light than their Labour party friendly adversaries — chose to use images of Thatcher in her prime — bright, colorful shots of a vital, alive, powerful woman at the pinnacle of her career.

Right wing stalwart, The Times, chose a bold, vivid image of Thatcher in action, with the patriotic union jack flag fluttering behind her. While, Middle England’s Conservative paper of choice, The Daily Mail, went one step further with their front page image, including a bright outline around Thatcher, seemingly painting a halo over the late politician’s head.

In contrast, Britain’s left leaning papers, The Independent, The Guardian, and The Mirror, all chose stark, stern, black and white images of the Baroness — ranging from a photo that perfectly captured Thatcher’s steely glare, to a pixilated image of her… angry, determined, mid speech.. breath captured in the cold air.The old adage, ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’ refers to the belief that an idea, even the most complex one, can be conveyed with just a single image — never has that been more apparent than when it came to the coverage of Margaret Thatcher’s death.
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