August 2, 2007

Today's Front Pages Analysis

Bridge collapse dominates front-page news

The collapse of a busy bridge spanning the Mississippi River in Minneapolis during rush hour yesterday dominated front pages across the U.S. today.

Minneapolis' own Star Tribune chose the headline "Buckling and Swaying, Then 'Down, Down, Down.' " The paper also had a story about the bridge's rating of "structurally deficient" in 2005. Pioneer Press out of the other Twin City, St. Paul, Minn., used a quote headline that stated,'I Heard it Crack.' " Other quote headlines included, " 'It Just Totally Collapsed,' " from Link (Hampton Roads, Va.), and The Salinas Californian's " 'We were dropping, dropping, dropping.' "

Another home-state paper, the St. Cloud (Minn.) Times, called the collapse "Rush Hour Horror" and recounted the story of a local professor who was in the area when the bridge collapsed. Oklahoma City's The Oklahoman had an onomatopoeic headline: "Boom, Boom, Boom" and had a front-page story about this tragedy evoking memories of a bridge collapse in Oklahoma in 2002.

In large paper coverage, The Houston Chronicle showed more of the horrific pictures and told of "Death, Chaos" at the scene. Also, the paper had a story of a Houston family that plunged "50 feet" off the bridge. The Intelligencer (Doylestown, Pa.) also gave a survival story front-page prominence.

The Wichita (Kan.) Eagle showed the disaster pictorally with four large photos on the front page with the headline "Fatal Collapse." Fargo, N.D.'s The Forum told the story of local rescue workers who were headed to Minneapolis to aid the recovery effort.

The story was even front-page news in some international papers, from Brisbane, Australia's The Courier Mail to Amsterdam, Netherlands' Het Parool and beyond. See the Newseum's front pages gallery for more coverage of this nightmare collapse.

Emily Hedges is an assistant editor at the Newseum.

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