A disaster stuck the Texas State Fair Friday in Dallas, just a couple of days before the fair was scheduled to end. “Big Tex” — a 52-foot-tall statue that marked the entrance of the fair for the past 60 years — caught fire and burned.
And, of course, something that big and spectacular is going to put on a spectacular show when it burns down.
John McKibbean of the Associated Press was one of the few photojournalists who happened to be on site Friday morning when the fire started. As a result, his picture was used on the front of many of the state’s newspapers.
UPDATE – 8:40 p.m.
A genius comment on this blog post via Facebook from genius Steven Cvengros of Microsoft News:
Thought that was the Texas version of Burning Man.
I wish I had thought of that…
DALLAS MORNING NEWS
The Dallas Morning News, however built its front page around a huge photo by Erby Gamboa. I presume Erby is a freelancer or a bystander who happened to get a nice shot — no professional affiliation is given in the photo credit.
Note the slightly humorous tone of the headline, though. Accounts say they were attracted to the first signs of smoke when the statue bellowed “Howdy, folks!” Officials think a short in the electrical system, in fact, may have started the blaze.
The woman in the downpage picture — by staffer Tom Fox — is leaving a yellow rose on the site where Big Tex stood. I kid you not.
Fort Worth, Texas
The Star-Telegram gave huge play to McKibbean’s picture and paired it with a picture of the statue after the fire was extinguished.
Austin’s display was puzzlingly small. But then again, that’s a problem I have with many of the Cox papers. They often play front-page art small. Even when the pictures are fabulous.
Waco played the AP picture nicely but then diminished the power of that photo by using two large aftermath shots.
Why use three pictures if you can do it in two? A little tight editing here might have been nice.
Victoria played up the AP picture, overlaid a headline to good effect and then added a “before” mug shot with a few fast facts.
Houston used the AP picture large but downpage a bit, pairing it with a photo of bystanders and a local column.
San Antonio, Texas
And San Antonio, too, used McKibbean’s picture nice and large.
Note the light touch with the headline: “little more than ashes.”
Longview chose a different AP picture but did elect to go with a humorous headline.
Note the tint box containing quotes from Texas fairgoers.
And the folks at the Morning Telegraph of Tyler get the award for wringing the most humor out of the story. Not only did it play up the “Tex is Toast” joke, but also: Check out the deck.
“Dies with [his] boots on.” Cute.
I also liked — very much — the before-and-after pictures Tyler used on page one.
Luckily, no one was hurt. Meaning these papers could have some fun with their presentations. Not often does a story come along about damage and destruction in which we can joke.
These front pages are all from the Newseum. Of course.