July 6, 2007

Today's Front Pages Analysis

Gender gab equity, vicious weather lead nation’s front pages

Today’s news is about shattering myths that women talk more than men and, of course, the weather – unpleasant, unwanted weather.

The story gracing most front pages is about a seven-year study that shows men and women talk about as much as each other on any given day. The Anchorage (Alaska) Daily News summed it up straight with its headline “Listen up: Men gab just as much as women, study finds. Each sex averages 16,000 words daily.” The San Francisco Chronicle wrote, “He says, She says” and “Battle of the blab is a draw…”

Headline writers were stuck with the cliché of Chatty Cathy but they appear to have had some fun coming up with different ways of describing talkative men. Florida Today calls us Talkative Tonys while the Daytona Beach (Fla.) News-Journal calls us Chatty Carls. The Oklahoman of Oklahoma City came up with Silent Sam. That’s a keeper.

The Fresno (Calif.) Bee captured the myth-busting story of the day as well as the weather. Its Page One headlines “Cooling it all day long” and “Gift of gab is an old wive’s tale” is on target for most of the nation. What’s unclear is whether more women than men are writing the Page One headlines. This one from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has some fire in it: “Muzzling a female stereotype.” The same newspaper calls it square with the weather, “What’s Cooking? The West.” In the South it’s rain, rain, rain. The San Antonio Express-News says “Enough is enough. Texas has seen 40 days of rain.” Louisiana and Mississippi newspapers are rife with stories of flooding and soggy days.

A handful of newspapers focused on tomorrow’s date of 07-07-07. Apparently this is lucky for brides and grooms. The (Toledo) Blade wrote a somewhat old-fashioned headline, “For lady Luck and Lady Love, tomorrow may be perfect date.” The Kansas City Star says, “Couples placing their bets on triple 7 wedding day.” Maybe compatibility is the better bet.

The Washington Post and The Boston Globe have investigative pieces focused on China. From the Post: “Farmed in China’s foul waters, Imported fish treated with drugs.” A single Chinese fish farm that sends 2.7 million catfish fillets to the United States through a Virginia importer is using antibiotics and herbal remedies on fish sickened by polluted waters. The Globe looked locally and found evidence of tainted toothpaste, which was in the news earlier this week: “Suspicious toothpaste is ordered off shelves. Antifreeze product may be in tubes from China.”

But the prize for enterprise reporting of the day might go to The (Wilmington, Del.) News Journal. Its banner headline: “Beer budget blown? Blame biofuel. Ethanol production main reason behind price hike.” So burning oil means cheaper beer? This could become a serious campaign issue.

Tim Friend is senior content specialist for exhibit development at the Newseum.

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