October 16, 2007

Today's Front Pages Analysis

Today’s tabloids don’t seem to be what memories say they were

The days of great tabloid headlines such as “Headless Body in Topless Bar” in the New York Post in 1982 might be memories of the past, but we thought that it would be worth looking at what some of the U.S. tabloids are offering their readers today, albeit in this time of shrinking newspaper page size, “tabloid” may refer more to format than content.

The East Bay Daily News in Berkeley, Calif., has a banner “Getting New Leash on Life” about an Oakland measure that “could allow owners to tie up pets on public property,” a story seemingly as tame as the pets. The Examiner in San Francisco has a big head reporting “Spare the rod, spoil the parents, sayeth The City,” giving the spell check on this machine fits. The story is about the DA wanting to go after “truant kids’ guardians.” For the Rocky Mountain News in Denver, Page One is a full-page photo showing Todd Helton squeezing the final out for the Rockies, putting the team in the World Series for the first time.

Moving eastward, the Chicago Sun-Times’ major play is an alderman in photo and story about his not being treated like everyone else. The Examiner in Baltimore leads with an investigation of bogus parking tickets, while the Philadelphia Daily News has an assortment of Page One items — a “blood trail” from Pennsylvania to Delaware and what a television critic watches just for fun. The big picture is of Roxie McNabb, wife of Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb, touting an interview. Quick in Dallas also offers a few Page One heads and a big photo of the “Soul Survivor,” which leads to an inside story claiming “Angie Stone is Stronger than Ever.” The Citizens’ Voice in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., gives most of Page One to coverage of a teachers’ strike.

Finally, let’s check the two tabloids in New York City. The New York Post plays up the “FBI ‘rogue’ on trial,” replete with “Shocking Murder Charges,” while the Daily News whoops up its exclusive about “Terror on the Tarmac,” about a “Tamil Tiger mastermind” allegedly working as an airport security guard.

It all seems a bit tame, or, as the Daily News said when the U.S. Senate failed to convict President Clinton on impeachment charges in 1999, “Close But No Cigar.”

Gene Mater is a Freedom Forum media consultant.

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