March 27, 2007

Today's Front Pages Analysis

Editors concerns: Healing broken hearts, N. Ireland

It isn’t all that often that a medical story will be considered worthy of front-page attention by so many editors, but this one did. There it is, on Page One of Alabama's Anniston Star -- “Study finds drugs work just as well as angioplasty.” The Arizona Republic in Phoenix also reported that “Angioplasties unneeded in many cases, study finds.” It’s on Page One of The Record in Stockton, Calif., and across the top of The Denver Post with the all-caps head “ANGIOPLASTY STUNNER.” It’s on the bottom of Page One of The Telegraph in Macon, Ga., and it’s the lead story of The Indianapolis Star. The Sun Journal in Lewiston, Maine, even tried a medical touch in its banner head: “Study lances angioplasty.”  And the story is on Page One of Minnesota's Duluth News Tribune.

For the nation’s occasionally pace-setting dailies – The New York Times and The Washington Post – the angioplasty news also merited above-the-fold Page One attention.

A non-Iraq international story also found its place on Page One of some U.S. newspapers – the first-ever direct talks and a plan for joint rule by the rival factions in Northern Ireland. Indeed, for The Boston Globe it is the lead story:  “N. Ireland gets historic agreement.” It is the off-lead story on Page One of The New York Times but is only teased on the front of The Washington Post with the story on page A7.  But the story was on Page One of The Anniston Star cited earlier, as well as in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette in Little Rock and other U.S. dailies.

For the Irish Independent in Dublin the headline seems to say it all: “A new beginning.”  In Glasgow's Herald (“Scotland’s leading quality daily newspaper”) the Northern Ireland story is at the top of Page One: “Sitting down together: a historic day for peace,” with an appropriate photo. It’s also at the top of Page One of The Daily Telegraph in London. But for The Guardian in London, the power-sharing event is teased at the bottom of Page One with the story inside while the readers are offered a front-page read: “Secret wills of the royals – a tale of mistresses, jewels and cover-ups.”

Gene Mater is a Freedom Forum media consultant.

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