Great Moments in Journalism: The AP’s Headline About Notre Dame

Great Moments in Journalism: The AP’s Headline About Notre Dame April 19, 2019


Check this out:

I’ll give them this: the story is better than the headline.


The soaring beauty of Paris’ Notre Dame Cathedral as it echoed with Gregorian chants so moved French poet Paul Claudel on Christmas Day 1886 that the avowed atheist converted to Catholicism on the spot.

“In an instant, my heart was touched and I believed,” Claudel, who remained a committed Catholic until his death nearly seven decades later, wrote of the religious transformation that is commemorated with a plaque on the floor.

While the imposing Gothic cathedral has become a tourist mecca, Notre Dame remains at its heart a place of worship, a powerful expression of religious reverence crafted from stone. A regular evening Mass was in progress when a fire broke near the top of the landmark church, and worshippers were evacuated quickly.

The global reaction to images of flames chewing through the roof, up the spire that pointed to heaven before the blaze brought it down, and threatening the entire cathedral made clear Notre Dame was bigger than any one faith still touched the faithless.

But that headline? Good grief.

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