August 22, 2007

Today's Front Pages Analysis

Hurricane, flooding, CIA missteps top headlines

Weather woes swamped front-page editors today, with floods in Minnesota and Ohio and Hurricane Dean bruising Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula.

St. Paul’s Pioneer Press in Minnesota covered several bases with “After the floods, fatigue, despair” and “Bush returns with vows of more help.” “Dean misses resorts, slams Mexico villages” summed up the Corpus Christi Caller-Times, whose readership was no doubt relieved to miss the brunt of the hurricane.

Far from storm-struck areas, The Virginian-Pilot in Norfolk used a six-column map of the Gulf of Mexico as the background of its front page, inset with photos.

In other news, finger-pointing was another theme of the day, with many front pages reporting on a just-declassified report about the CIA’s efforts leading up to the terrorist attacks of 2001. “Report details CIA missteps before Sept. 11 attacks,” said the Duluth (Minn.) News Tribune. The Blade in Toledo, Ohio, was blunt: “Watchdog faults CIA bosses on 9/11.”

In New York, the Daily News’ “Tragic Blame Game” headline focused not on the CIA, but on the events that killed two firefighters fighting a blaze in the Ground Zero area over the weekend. Metro – New York asked, “Who’s to blame?”

The Yakima (Wash.) Herald-Republic reported on a startling test that could determine which drugs the residents of a city are taking in “Community urinalysis — Scientists need just a teaspoon of waste water to drug test an entire city.”

And a bad-news story for book publishers found lots of interest among Page One editors. “Read between the lines: Bookworms a rare breed,” quipped The Island Packet in Bluffton, S.C., reporting on an Associated Press poll that found 1 in 4 adults read no books in the past year.

We’re hoping they were reading newspapers instead.

Patty Rhule is a project editor at the Newseum.

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