April 23, 2007

Today's Front Pages Analysis

A week later: Virginia Tech tries to get back into the routine

With classes resuming today on the Virginia Tech campus, newspapers focused on the return of students.

Photos of students with suitcases coming back to campus were published in many newspapers, including the Richmond (Va.) Times-Dispatch. “Virginia Tech remembers victims, seeks a return to normal,” The San Diego Union-Tribune said. “Va. Tech tries to get back to normal,” The Arizona Republic said in its lead headline.

But only a week after the campus massacre, words other than “normal” might be more appropriate. “Students return to shattered campus,” The Dallas Morning News said. “Students return to a campus forever changed,” said The News Tribune in Tacoma, Wash.

“French vote sets stage for a new political era,” the Los Angeles Times said about the center-right party candidate and a socialist who will face off in France’s May 6 runoff presidential election. La Tribune in Paris pictured the two in reporting the heavy voter turnout and “shocking” vote.

Newspapers fulfilled their watchdog role in reporting on the government’s performance. A Washington Post report on the Food and Drug Administration was picked up by other newspapers, noting that the FDA knew for years about contamination problems at farms and food processors that led to disease and recalls. News about the Federal Emergency Management Agency was reported in yet other newspapers. “Recovery funds wasted,” the American Press of Lake Charles, La., said about Hurricane Katrina contracts given to companies with poor credit histories and bad paperwork. “New report says FEMA mismanaged bidding, wasted over $1 billion,” The Sun of Baltimore said.

Worth a closer look: The Seattle Post-Intelligencer used a “passed-failed” approach to report on the close of the legislative session. Stories, headlines and a photo of a pink flamingo aided the recap.

Today’s image: The Kansas City (Mo.) Star featured a large photo of the Rev. Will Bowen surrounded by purple “no-complaints” bracelets that his church created to encourage positive thinking. People from almost 80 countries have asked the church for 4.5 million bracelets, but who’s complaining?

Kate Kennedy, a former newspaper Page One editor, is director/diversity programs.

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