October 25, 2007

Today's Front Pages Analysis

Fires in California are news in just about any language

The fires in California still rate Page One attention in this country, but we wondered whether newspapers around the world felt the four-day-old story was worthy of attention for a readership that probably will never see the Golden State. The answer is decidedly yes, with the results of a quick survey of our Web site resulting in too much coverage to warrant little more than a sampling.

Kompas in Jakarta, Indonesia, has a five-column picture of the fire scene across the top of Page One, while Star in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, has a photo of a house ablaze in Running Springs, Calif., aptly captioned “Hell of a fire.” The Manila Times in the Philippines has a fire picture at the bottom of the page, labeled “California burnin’,” while The West Australian in Perth settles for a fire photo.

Hospodárské Noviny in Prague, Czech Republic, has a fire photo worthy of a prize, showing a sign in English reading “$1,000 fine for littering” and a scene of devastation. Le Figaro in Paris has a large photo plus story that continues on page 3. Der Tagesspiegel in Berlin has a photo and story about a million Californians taking flight, as the Süddeutsche Zeitung in Munich offers a major Page One story about those million Californians on the run. The fire, sometimes with a picture, also is news for Público in Lisbon, Portugal; Irish Examiner in Cork; SME in Bratislava, Slovak Republic; Basler Zeitung in Basel, Switzerland; and The Guardian in London.

El Nuevo Dia in San Juan, Puerto Rico, has a fire photo taking up most the front page, Portafolio in Bogota, Colombia, has a smaller Page One picture with story inside, and O Globo in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, starts its story on Page One.

We haven’t reported all the dailies abroad that are covering the California fires, but it’s clear that news is news, wherever you are, and a good picture helps tell the story.

Gene Mater is a Freedom Forum media consultant.

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