August 20, 2007

Today's Front Pages Analysis

Weather really is bad when you see it on page one of your local newspaper

Bad weather always looks worse through a window. That’s an old saying that might be amended to read, Bad weather always looks worse on Page One of   your hometown newspaper.

Three states have been hit with what copy editors often refer to as “deadly flooding” — Oklahoma, Wisconsin and Minnesota — as Texas and Mexico brace for Hurricane Dean.

Let’s start where the weather has been. The Oklahoman in Oklahoma City leads with “As storm’s death toll and waters rise, communities turn an EYE TOWARD RECOVERY” while the Tulsa World has as the off-lead story “Floods kill at least 6 in state.” In Minnesota, the Star-Tribune in Minneapolis has an all-cap banner that   says it all: “‘THE RAIN NEVER QUIT.’” Page One photos in the St. Cloud Times of homes on the edge of a washed-out area; the water at the top of the wheel and the sad driver in the St. Paul Pioneer Press, and the three “Floods Swamp Minnesota” pictures in the West Central Tribune in Willmar might persuade you not to visit the state right now. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has a front-page head over a large photo to tell the story that “Storms Swamp Wisconsin.”

Let’s move south to check on Hurricane Dean. The Daily Express, which bills itself “the national newspaper of Trinidad & Tobago,” fills most of Page One with a storm photo and the head, ‘DEAN CRASHES IN.” El Caribe in the Dominican Republic says there isn’t much hurricane damage on that island; that there’s more in Jamaica and Haiti. Then there are the places in Texas and Mexico that are, in the words of the lead head in the El Paso Times, “Bracing for Dean,” or as the Corpus Christi Caller Times says in its all-cap banner of the day, “MEAN DEAN GATHERS STEAM.” The San Antonio Express-News tells its readers that “Officials Warn: Do not underestimate this storm.” And if you’re in the area of Ciudad Victoria, Mexico, we suggest picking up a copy of Expreso, which devotes almost half of Page One to a map showing the track of Hurricane Dean.

Gene Mater is a Freedom Forum media consultant.

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