March 5, 2007

Today's Front Pages Analysis

Civilian deaths in war zone capture editors' attention

From coast to coast with many stops in between, a story from Afghanistan was the choice of many editors for Page One treatment.

In one form or another, “Afghans say GIs killed civilians,” as headlined by the Arizona Daily Star in Tucson, was what it was all about. Another “Star,” Alabama's Anniston Star, reported that “Afghans say U.S. fired on civilians after bomb,” while Page One of the Little Rock Arkansas Democrat-Gazette headlined the story “Afghans: Marines fired on civilians after attack” and The Herald in Monterey, Calif., said that “U.S. troops shot up highway after bomb attack, Afghans say.” The Gazette in Colorado Springs took it one step further, with “Civilian deaths outrage Afghans.” The Advocate in Baton Rouge, La., noted that “Bombing sparks riot,” with the drop head informing the reader that “Afghan civilians die in U.S. troops’ response.”  For The Journal Gazette in Fort Wayne, Ind., the story was that “Afghans turn on GIs after 8 civilian deaths” while The Palm Beach Post in Florida had the death toll at 16. Stars & Stripes, the daily aimed at the military audience, also led with “Civilians killed after attack on U.S. convoy,” adding that “Car bomb hits Marines on Afghan highway, sparking firefight.”

It is worth noting that two major dailies, The New York Times and The Washington Post, didn’t find room for the story on Page One and The Sun in Baltimore teased the story, which was on page 6.

At least three dailies in Europe found photos of women worth Page One attention.  For The Guardian in London it was Madonna at a party in Los Angeles, while the Kleine Zeitung in Graz, Austria, devoted much of Page One to a picture of the soprano star Anna Netrebko of the Vienna State Opera in her role in Massenet’s “Manon.” But The Daily Telegraph in London offered a large color picture of Galliano’s lady in red from the Paris fashion week, to leave you gawking or wondering.

Gene Mater is a media consultant to the Freedom Forum.

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