July 11, 2007

Today's Front Pages Analysis

Pope, Potter and Plane Crash are Today's "Ginormous" Stories

Editors had many front-page worthy stories to choose from today. It's no wonder that the front pages were so varied.

Many papers had a story about the pope's declaration of the Catholic Church being Christ's "one Church." The San Antonio Express-News straightforward headline says "Pope Defines 'True' Church." The Birmingham (Ala.) News uses stronger quotes from the document saying Protestant churches "suffer from defects" and are not churches "in the proper sense."

Regional coverage saw a plane crash in Sanford, Fla. covering front pages all over that state, and the San Francisco All-Star game made news in California. The Tampa (Fla.) Tribune had a succinct headline "Plane Crash Kills 5," while the Orlando (Fla.) Sentinel showed pictures of the victims on the front page. The (Jacksonville) Florida Times-Union headline quoted a neighbor who said, "I saw smoke — black, black smoke." The San Jose (Calif.) Mercury News covered the All-Star tribute to former San Franciso Giant Willie Mays on their front page, while the Oakland (Calif.) Tribune discussed the dominance of the American League, which has won 10 All-Star games since 1998.

Harry Potter, much beloved child wizard, made many front pages today, as the latest Harry Potter movie opened last night at midnight, and the final book in the series hits stores this month as well. The Forum, from Fargo, N.D., reported on the people who waited in line for the movie yesterday under the headline "Midnight Magic." The Fort Worth (Texas) Star-Telegram said "It's a magical month for fans of Harry Potter," as the paper kicks off 12 days of Potter-mania coverage between the movie opening and the book opening, offering quizzes and a predictions contest. Toronto's National Post called the movie "Voldemortifying," although we're pretty sure that's a compliment.

In other pop culture news, the world finally knows which Springfield the Simpsons hail from. 109,582 votes later, Springfield, Vt., edged its competitor from Illinois with 15,367 total votes. The Burlington (Vt.) Free Press declared "We Won!" The Springfield, Ill., paper, The State Journal Register was obviously reeling with a front page editorial titled, "Cheating or fraud? How did we lose?"

Merriam-Webster announced the new additions for the coming dictionary edition. Headline writers obviously had fun, with headlines like "Do you listen to crunk while doing sudoku?" from the Cape Cod Times in Hyannis, Mass., and "Merriam-Webster gives its buttoned-down image a ginormous smackdown" from the Great Falls (Mont.) Tribune.

Finally, a high-flying story of soaring achievement to lift your day. Or perhaps, just a childhood dream come true. Kent Couch used "105 balloons, 1 lawn chair," according to Boise's Idaho Statesman's headline to fly 193 miles from Bend, Ore., to Union, Ore., near the Idaho border. The Statesman included a fantastic picture of Couch aloft above the mountains. Bend, Ore. paper The Bulletin talked about the national coverage of the story, saying, "Balloonist gets 15 minutes." Too bad it took nine hours.

Emily Hedges is an assistant editor at the Newseum.

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