October 26, 2007

Today's Front Pages Analysis

It doesn’t always take a fire to make for a hot lead story

A week is a long time for any running news story. Although the newspaper of record, The New York Times, again leads with the California fires, to many editors it was enough already. Even the East Bay Daily News in Berkeley played up Halloween kids dressed in costumes for trick-or-treat activities, although the neighboring Oakland Tribune localized the fires down below as the off-lead with “SoCal smoke makes way to Bay,” complete with photo.

The Aurora Sentinel in the Colorado town of the same name plays up the World Series while admitting that the locals are not doing so well, trailing 2-0. However, the Boston Herald fills Page One with a photo touting “Gutsy Schilling helps Sox take 2-0 Series lead.”

But for many front pages, neither the fires nor the Series were stories of front-page importance. The Wichita Eagle tells its Kansas readers that it’s “Last chance for input “ about the city parks while The Times in Gainesville, Ga., plays up “First phase of gardens unveiled,” and does so with three pictures. The Lincoln Journal Star helps its readers re-live “the devastating 1997 storm,” when the problem, according to the Page One photo, was snow and ice, while leading with the newspaper’s editor resigning “after 30 years in Nebraska journalism.” If you’re out in Nevada today, you can read all about “Brothel owner’s home searched,” up at the top of the Reno Gazette-Journal front page. For the two competing dailies in New York City there was only one story and the same picture, with the Daily News yelling “SUPERBUG KILLS BOY” and the New York Post a tad louder with “SUPERBUG KILLS NYC KID.”

If you’re in Texas, the El Paso Times reports the good news that “Teen pregnancies fall.”

But we have two choices for gripping local coverage. The Wyoming Tribune-Eagle reports about its hometown ”Cheyenne ranked as least-fit city for kids” in a national magazine while the Lexington Herald-Leader in Kentucky touts an inside story referred to as “some of the best places to go,” which, the editor notes is “all about best public restrooms.”

Gene Mater is a Freedom Forum media consultant.

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