January 23, 2008

Today's Front Pages Analysis

Economic woes inspire headline writers

The Fed cut interest rates in a bold fashion yesterday in an attempt to ward off recession. Although the economic news is bad, it gave headline writers a lot of material to work with creatively.

Some front-page headlines were relatively straightforward. The Lincoln (Neb.) Journal Star called the economic state a "Vicious Cycle of Fear," giving information about the Fed's "Action" and "The Reaction" along with a Q & A. The Orange County Register (Santa Ana, Calif.) tried to answer "What Rate Cut Means for You" in regard to "Your Job," "Your Home" and "Your Savings."

The Free Lance-Star (Fredericksburg, Va.) refused even to say "recession," using the front-page headline, "The 'R' Word: Are We There Yet?" The Dallas Morning News used a metaphor in its headline, "Markets dance, and Fed cuts in." East Brunswick, N.J.'s Home News Tribune used the pun "Investors take stock," while some papers, like Pioneer Press in St. Paul, Minn., got creative with their graphics. Pioneer Press showed hands holding resuscitation paddles with the headline, "Will a JOLT cure an ailing economy?" The Telegraph in Calcutta, India, called the economy woes "America's New War."

But not all news was financial. In an election year, politics is never far from the front page. Fred Thompson withdrew his bid to become president yesterday. The Marietta (Ga.) Daily Journal gave Thompson top billing on its front page with the main headline, "Actor-politician exits stage."

Hollywood also had a big news day. The Modesto (Calif.) Bee had the "80th Annual Oscar Nods" as its main front-page story with the lists of nominees in a few major categories. But, the Daily News (Los Angeles) asked "Red Carpet Blues?" as the writers' strike could affect the Academy Awards show.

In sad Hollywood news, Brokeback Mountain actor Heath Ledger, 28, died yesterday afternoon. New York's Daily News took a more tabloid-esque approach with the headline, "Star's 'Drug' Death" and the subhead, "Heath Ledger found naked in SoHo loft," while the Tampa Bay Times (St. Petersburg, Fla.) simply said: "So Long, Cowboy."

Emily Hedges is an assistant editor at the Newseum.

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