September 17, 2007

Today's Front Pages Analysis

This is a day that at least 2 dailies want to be sure you don’t forget

It’s been a long time since we were anywhere near Opelika or next door in Auburn, Ala., but we would like to be there at 3 p.m. today when area church bells ring to celebrate Constitution Day, according to a Page One story in today’s Opelika-Auburn News. We didn’t check all 511 front pages on our Web site today, but skipping around produced only one other daily (there may be others) paying attention — big attention this time — to “Celebrating the Constitution,” as The Forum in Fargo, N.D., tells its readers in a story noting “Today is one of those holidays that most people don’t realize exists. But 220 years ago, Sept. 17 became one of the most important days in the nation’s history,” and then goes on with a brief history lesson and a sampling of comments from area residents answering the question “What does citizenship mean to you?”

But for most U.S. dailies, the day’s news is much like The Sentinel-Record in Hot Springs, Ark.: “Plane crash in Thailand kills 88,” “Bush names successor to Gonzales” and “Police arrest O.J. Simpson in Las Vegas.” Other dailies found space on Page One, as did The Bakersfield Californian, for a photo and a head “’The Sopranos’ wins top drama at Emmys,” with details on page 12, while another picture touts “Saggy pants: Cities start crackdown.” The Anchorage Daily News up in Alaska has the Simpson story but reserves the top of Page One for a square-off with the inviting head “Murder suspect became cookie-baking volunteer.”

Some newspapers believe that Monday readers want to know about sports. The Courier-Journal in Louisville, Ky., has photos and scores above the nameplate and just below “Fans enjoy a first — U of L, UK both in AP’s Top 25,” meaningful and important words to sports fans, even as The Florida Times-Union in Jacksonville has a Page One football photo and a head touting “Look who’s back on the defensive.” The Arizona Republic in Phoenix reports on “Scrappy contenders.”

But up here, in the shadow of the nation’s Capitol, we’re going to listen for the Auburn-area bells at 3 this afternoon.

Gene Mater is a Freedom Forum media consultant.

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