May 30, 2007

Today's Front Pages Analysis

Taking stock of where TB story did — and didn't — make news

Today’s lede is about the story that didn’t make Page One. Where the story started and ended, Atlanta, it is on Page One, as the top story in The Journal-Constitution relates: “Atlantan quarantined with deadly TB strain.” The man’s saga started in Atlanta, on a flight to Paris on Air France on May 12, returning from Prague on a Czech Air flight to Montreal on May 24, and from there by car back to the U.S. And although health authorities are trying to locate passengers who may have been seated near the now-quarantined traveler and possibly exposed to a potentially deadly disease, coverage in cities affected is limited.  In Paris, the International Herald-Tribune carries a Page One story with the head “Aggressive TB case on 2 Atlantic flights.” But that’s not the play given by Le Monde, La Tribune and Le Figaro, where there were other stories worth Page One attention. The same seems to be true for the two Montreal dailies featured on our Web site, although The Globe and Mail in Toronto played the story on Page One as “Airline passenger had deadly form of TB” and as did The Boston Globe with “CDC quarantines man who has lethal TB strain.”

As for some of the other dailies, the San Francisco Chronicle gives the top of Page One to a picture, a map and the story of the “Wandering whales homing in on open sea,” a story that has been a front-page West Coast feature for many days. Indeed, with the wayward whales finally heading in the right direction, The Sacramento Bee has a photo and head proclaiming “And away they go.”

The Sentinel-Record in Hot Springs, Ark., plays up state and local news but finds space at the bottom of Page One for “Five Britons kidnapped in Iraq after 10 soldiers killed on Memorial Day.”  But the Los Angeles Times leads with “Still on the job, more seniors find retiring doesn’t work for them,” a story that shows up from time to time, while the Chicago Tribune leads with “U.S. adds to Sudan sanctions.”

If you’re looking for a little light reading, you might check out the Tampa Bay Times down in St. Petersburg, Fla., which teases on Page One that “The bride wore Target” and promises an inside piece to answer the question “So how good is Target’s new budget line?.”

Gene Mater is a Freedom Forum media consultant.

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