August 7, 2007

Today's Front Pages Analysis

In Utah, a race to rescue miners; from Minn., a focus on road safety

Disaster struck today’s front page, as news came from Utah that six were trapped in a coal mine.

“‘You’ve just got to pray … and hope they’re OK,’” said The Deseret Morning News in Salt Lake City, about 140 miles from the accident site. The Morning News printed an aerial view of the canyon mine and a graphic of the shaft 1,500 feet underground. “Initial rescue called failure; cave-in first thought to be earthquake,” The Charleston (W.Va.) Gazette said. The San Diego Union-Tribune pictured a rescue worker on his way to help and a community member waiting for word: “Rescuers race clock in Utah mine cave-in.”

In Minnesota, the Star Tribune of Minneapolis pictured the dead and still missing in last week’s collapse of an interstate bridge. “Collapse sends shock wave from here to Washington,” said the St. Paul Pioneer Press, which detailed the disaster’s potential impact on politics. The collapse has “focused national attention on the crumbling condition of America’s roadways and bridges,” The News York Times said in its lead story. The News Tribune of Tacoma, Wash., was one newspaper that picked up the Times story: “Boring old roads cry for help.” Bridge inspectors were pictured at work across the country, including in Roanoke, Va. USA Today published a front-page poll that showed 67% of respondents are concerned about the safety of bridges they regularly cross. The newspaper also focused on spending and inspection: “States lag in buying safety technology.”

Readers of The Virginian-Pilot in Norfolk and other newspapers got fries with their morning paper. “Small fries prefer McVeggies,” The Modesto (Calif.) Bee said about a study that showed preschoolers thought anything made and packaged by McDonald’s -- even carrots -- tasted better. The San Jose (Calif.) Mercury News incorporated the Golden Arches in its headline.

A weather forecast is a standard feature on the front page, but today’s blistering temperatures in the eastern half of the United States made the weather a full-fledged story. “The heat is on,” said The Herald in Rock Hill, S.C., which pictured residents’ attempts to stay cool. The Fort Worth (Texas) Star-Telegram gave a new twist to the “dog days ahead,” asking: “Think you can stand the heat? The ghost chile begs to differ.” Kate Kennedy, a former newspaper Page One editor, is director/diversity programs.

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