September 24, 2007

Today's Front Pages Analysis

World newspapers take note of what you do, not what you say

We wondered how the death of a man whose art form transcended the written and the spoken barriers of language differences would be treated by the world press. Marcel Marceau, arguably the world’s greatest mime, died during the weekend at the age of 84. His obituary was teased with a photo and a short item on Page One of The New York Times and The Washington Post, which offers both an obit and an appreciation. We found similar treatment across the United States, in the Miami Herald, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, The Boston Globe, The Charlotte (N.C.) Observer and other dailies on our Web site. But what about the rest of the world? We looked only for Page One photos, and here is a sampling of what we found.

Le Figaro in Paris – and Marcel Marceau was French – has a big Page One photo with the words “Mime Marceau, the poet of silence.”  The Braunschweiger Zeitung in Braunschweig , Germany, also has a large photo and a headline referring to “the king of pantomime.” The Suedwest Presse in Ulm, Germany, has a big picture and the caption “The clown is dead,” while Der Standard in Vienna, Austria, has a photo and tease at the bottom of Page One -- similar to the treatment in Nepszabadsag in Budapest, Hungary. For Publico in Lisbon, Portugal, the death needed a large photo, and it was the same for The Guardian in London.

A check of the Latin American dailies found Marcel Marceau’s picture a tease at the top of El Mercurio in Santiago, Chile, and El Tiempo in Bogota, Colombia, while PlanB in Montevideo, Uruguay, preferred a large photo on Page One with the story inside. The Jerusalem Post in Israel also has a photo labeled “The Rest is Silence,” while Gulf News in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, has a small photo and a tease above the nameplate. In the Pacific, the Manila Standard Today in the Philippines has a picture at the bottom of the page with a caption beginning with one strong word:  “Gone.” The Sydney Morning Herald in Australia plays it straight with a one-column photo and a one-column head “Marcel Marceau dies.”

Perhaps it isn’t what you say but what you do that counts.

Gene Mater is a Freedom Forum media consultant.

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