Behind The Scenes Of Obama Cover

Don Chapman
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November 12, 2008
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MidWeek’s Jan. 2, 2008, cover got it right

‘08: Year of Obama

It was the last week of 2007 when I wrote that headline for the cover of our Jan. 2, 2008, issue, an intentional wordplay on the approaching Chinese New Year, Year of the Rat.

I tried other headline ideas, scribbling in a notepad, but kept returning to that one, even as part of my brain was screaming, “Idiot, Obama hasn’t won anything yet!”

So, yes, I knew MidWeek was taking a chance with such a bold prediction. But there was also another part of my brain, or gut, or something, maybe just an editor’s intuition, that made me go with ‘08: Year of Obama.

In light of last week’s stunning election, it’s looking pretty good.

The idea for MidWeek‘s first cartoon cover began with publisher Ron Nagasawa. In looking at photos with senior editor Terri Hefner, including several excellent shots we obtained from our cousins at the Star-Bulletin and from the Des Moines Register (Obama had been campaigning in Iowa leading up to the first caucuses), nothing was jumping out at us as a compelling cover shot.


That’s when Ron said, “Let’s ask Roy Chang to draw Obama.”

When I called our ace editorial cartoonist, he was immediately excited by the assignment. When, a few days later, Roy showed us the drawing of Obama with both Diamond Head and the White House, we too were excited, and pleased.

Creative director Gina Lambert completed the package by choosing a perfect font for the headline. And Dan Boylan’s cover story was insightful.

All of which further proves my belief that journalism is the world’s greatest team sport, and that the MidWeek team is as good as they come.

(Regular readers also will recall that, in the interest of fairness and balance, we would later publish a cover story on Sen. John McCain.)


Regardless of which candidate you favored, I was most pleased by the number of Americans who voted, and especially the enthusiasm shown by people in their 20s, my children’s generation. More than anything, that bodes well for the future of our American republic.

The headline I’d write for Obama in 2009:

The Year of Getting to Work

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