October 2, 2007

Today's Front Pages Analysis

Troubles of Iraq war contractor, pop princess share news spotlight

Declining troop deaths in Iraq and increasing questions about deaths caused by a security contractor topped newspaper agendas today. “American war deaths are falling, but analysts aren’t sure why” said The (Marysville, Calif.) Appeal-Democrat. The Record in Stockton, Calif., was more upbeat: “Gaining ground” read the headline, with a dramatic photo of GIs taking an insurgent into custody. Less certain was the Lexington (Ky.) Herald-Leader, which cautioned “Analysts wary of citing ‘surge’ as crucial factor.”

The saga of war contractor Blackwater USA held the attention of front-page editors across the country. “A report reveals troubling details about the security contractor, even as the FBI sends a team to Iraq to probe killings by the firm’s employees,” said The Denver Post in a front-page tease. The Washington Post led with “Other Killings by Blackwater Staff Detailed; State Dept. Papers Tell of Coverup.”

In sports news, the Colorado Rockies’ win in an extra-innings tiebreaker over the San Diego Padres to become a wild card team in the National League playoffs was a case of “Extra Innings, Extra Effort” said The Gazette of Colorado Springs, Colo. “Rock Steady” praised the Aurora (Colo.) Sentinel.

Positive health news about Alzheimer’s found a home on many front pages. “Study: Conscientious achievers less prone to Alzheimer’s Disease” said the Opelika-Auburn News in Alabama. “Purposeful personality may cut Alzheimer’s risk” said Florida Today in Melbourne, Fla.

In local news, the death of legendary, straight-talking Jefferson County, La., Sheriff Harry Lee merited a front-page tribute in The Times-Picayune in New Orleans. It was front-page news in The Town Talk of Alexandria, La., as well.

The sad case of troubled pop tart Britney Spears continues to fascinate.

  • • “K-Fed gets custody,” said the OC Post of ex-husband Kevin Federline’s winning custody of the pair’s toddlers.
  • • “Unfitney!” blasted New York’s Daily News.
  • • “The fast life catches up to Britney Spears” finger-wagged The Kansas City (Mo.) Star.

But on the up side of youthful stardom, Hannah Montana’s sellout concert tours ranked a few inches above Britney’s woes in the Waterbury, Conn., RepublicanAmerican.

Patty Rhule is a project editor at the Newseum.

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