March 8, 2007

Today's Front Pages Analysis

Newspapers hit the jackpot with winners, losers

No one seems to have enough time or money, which might be why editors put stories about both on today’s front pages.

A Georgia truck driver split a record-setting $390 million Mega Millions lottery jackpot, said The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, which pictured the winner holding a “Gone Fishing” pillow – an indication of his future plans. The Charleston (W.Va.) Gazette used his lump-sum winnings – $116,557,083 (before taxes) – as its headline. In an adjacent story, the newspaper reported that state teachers likely will get a 3.5% raise after action by lawmakers. The other winning ticket was sold in New Jersey. The nearby Philadelphia Inquirer asked: “Mega-mystery: Who won?”

Gas money made news elsewhere. “$3 gas – again?!” The Desert Sun in Palm Springs, Calif., asked, adding: “Volatile fuel market wears on motorists.” The Truth in Elkhart, Ind., said: “Nationwide average cost of gas is up 32 cents in a month.”

“Right on the money? Hardly,” The Philadelphia Inquirer said about a monetary goof that made news across the country. “God-less coins slip past U.S. Mint,” The San Diego Union-Tribune said in reporting that a number of George Washington dollar coins were produced without their edge inscriptions, including “In God We Trust.” “By George, the inscription seems to have disappeared,” said The Charlotte (N.C.) Observer, noting a flawed coin is selling for $50. In a “What happened” box, the Quad-City Times in Davenport, Iowa, illustrated how the mistake was made.

“Spring ahead Sunday, but beware,” advised the Poughkeepsie (N.Y.) Journal, one newspaper promoting the early return of daylight-saving time. The newspaper warned of “an unpleasant surprise for some technology.” The Dallas Morning News probably didn’t help people who can’t remember which way to turn the clock. “Winter forward? Jump back,” it said.

Favorite headline: “Pinot … not,” said The Oregonian in Portland over a story about Oregon winemakers not being able to keep up with demand.

Worth a close look: The Des Moines Register chronicled the Iowa girls’ basketball tournament and illustrated in photos and text an “Up and down day for metro schools.” Kate Kennedy, a former newspaper Page One editor, is director/partnerships and initiatives.

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