July 9, 2007

Today's Front Pages Analysis

Partial shutdown rattles Pa.; New plane takes off on some pages

What to lead with today was editor’s choice unless you were working in Pennsylvania. There, where the state Legislature reached a budget impasse, Gov. Ed Rendell ordered a partial state shutdown, furloughing an estimated 25,000 state employees and causing editors to look for the end-of-the-world type.

The Erie Times-News found it and told the story with a one-word, all-caps head: SHUTDOWN. The Patriot-News in Harrisburg, the state capital, spelled it out with IT’S A SHUTDOWN, also in black caps. The Tribune-Review in Greensburg preferred a more sedate “State furloughs take effect.” The Intelligencer Journal in Lancaster spelled it out with “No deal on budget” and “’Non-essential’ services will be shut down.” The Pocono Record in Stroudsburg wins today’s prize for its lead head: “Sorry, we’re closed.”  And so it went. Of the 15 Pennsylvania dailies in Today’s Front Pages, only two don’t whoop up the state closings. The Philadelphia Daily News ran a tease at the bottom of Page One: “24,000 state workers idled in budget impasse. Page 5” although the sister Philadelphia Inquirer says it’s 25,000. And the Williamsport Sun-Gazette has an earlier story, before the shutdown was ordered.

But there were other stories for the rest of the country. Some found Page One space for the new Boeing airplane, typified by The Wichita Eagle in Kansas with a big photo and the head “Now the Dreamliner is real”; the Press-Telegram in Long Beach, Calif., has a different photo and the head “Cleared for takeoff.” The Miami Herald tells it all with “Boeing rolls out new jet touted to be economical, comfortable.”

The Chicago Tribune tells what everyone sweltering in the Midwest was thinking, with the lead head, “Baked city begs for a breeze.”  The Star-Ledger in Newark, N.J., plays up the anniversary of local riots with the head, “5 days that changed a city.”

Maybe you have to be there to want to read the piece that takes up much of page one of The Honolulu Advertiser: “At the sound of the siren …” It’s the a new "Please Abide, Move Aside" campaign to remind drivers to pull over. For the tabloid Daily News in what O. Henry called Baghdad-on-the-Subway, there’s a photo of the only female anchor on a network evening news broadcast, with the head, “I have days when I’m like, My God, what did I do?”, quoting “Katie Couric on joining ‘CBS Evening News.’”

Gene Mater is a Freedom Forum media consultant.

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