March 26, 2007

Today's Front Pages Analysis

Death of another beauty, financial troubles top tabs

"Tabloid" is a term that initially indicated page size rather than newspaper content. "Tabloid journalism" offered a different approach to newspaper content, suggesting sensationalism, crime and sex. Tabloid journalism also resulted in the landmark 1931 U.S. Supreme Court free-press decision Near v. Minnesota, holding that government could not exercise prior restraint on newspaper content. We thought that today we would take a look at a few tabloids, to see what makes the news in some of the smaller-format dailies we feature on our Web site.

The Rocky Mountain News in Denver has a banner headline reading “This is modern slavery,” with a photo and story about the problems of immigrant taxi drivers, while the Chicago Sun-Times reports “Locked up, but still cleaning up” about a founder of a janitorial service in prison for bank fraud who has received “a controversial no-bid contract.” In tabloid heaven, aka New York, the Daily News plays up “BEAUTY SLAIN" saying "Manhattan woman’s dream ends as she’s killed on Boston street” while also reporting that the city’s San Gennaro festival may be “A thing of the pasta.” The New York Post also puts the “City beauty slain” on Page One but plays up “All three victims shot by one cop.”  Newsday, published on Long Island, focuses on the financial struggles of servicemen’s families trying to “make ends meet.”

In other parts of the world, the Townsville Bulletin in Australia uses half of its front page to offer a “free giant cowboys banner,” noting that “they’re huge!” but also reporting that two people died on area roads. Kleine Zeitung in Klagenfurt, Austria, devotes all of Page One to the 50th anniversary of the European Union, celebrated yesterday in Berlin, with a long quote from the German chancellor.

O Sul in Porto Alegre, Brazil, leads with land reform in Venezuela and offers readers weekend sports photos. The Calgary Sun in Alberta is concerned about “Bar violence spurs call to action” and reports about training for staffers in drinking places. Meanwhile, The Sun in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, reports a “sheer waste of public funds” on the wetlands.

It is worth noting that the main Page One stories of The New York Times – “Aged, Frail and Denied Care by Their Insurers” – and The Washington Post – “Foreclosure Wave Bears Down on Immigrants” – easily could be played up as tabloid stories of old.

Gene Mater is a Freedom Forum media consultant.

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