April 6, 2007

Today's Front Pages Analysis

Editors on Easter break; famous feud still fascinates

With no big juicy story to chew on, newspaper editors turned their attention to local and regional news today. Features tied to the upcoming Easter holiday showed up often, and many headlines focused on religion rather than rabbits. Several Friday newspapers focused on Maundy Thursday: “Maundy Solemnity,” Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, Ontario, Calif. The Denver Post had a big Easter package on “Why They Carry the Cross,” a look at five area residents who will carry crosses during weekend services. The Mississippi Press ran a large photo and explanation of the foot-washing ritual often seen during Catholic services: “The chosen members … had water from a basin poured over their foot as a symbol of the Biblical account from John 13 of Jesus performing the same act.”

Some states had some hot regional news to cover today. New Jersey newspapers were filled with accounts of an FBI agent, apparently killed by friendly fire during an attempt to arrest suspects in a bank robbery. The Star-Ledger in Newark led with the shooting and subsequent manhunt, and followed up with an analysis: “Job pits FBI against the baddest of bad guys. Bureau still loses few agents in line-of-duty shootouts.” The Press of Atlantic City emphasized the rarity of the incident: “First time in N.J. an FBI agent is killed in line of duty.”

In North Carolina, editors led with an unusual declaration from state lawmakers: “N.C. Senate apologizes for slavery,” The Herald-Sun, Durham. Raleigh’s News & Observer fronted quotes from the “solemn session”: “My middle name is the last name of the owners of my ancestors,” Sen. Charlie Dannelly; “My grandfather was a slave owner. I’ve always had trouble dealing with that,” Sen. Bill Purcell.

Finally, an AP report on the legendary conflict between the Hatfields and McCoys caught the eye of several Page One editors today. The Tyler (Texas) Morning Telegraph had a big feature titled “Beyond the Feud.” AP medical writer Marilyn Marchione detailed a new analysis of McCoy descendants who, according to doctors, have a “rare, inherited disease that can lead to hair-trigger rage and violent outbursts.” No word on what was up with the Hatfields, though.

Christy Mumford Jerding is the editorial director of the Freedom Forum.

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