February 1, 2008

Today's Front Pages Analysis

Page One can’t go wrong with Spongebob, checkers and Tories

We’re playing favorites today with the writers of the front-pages analysis: they’re offering their favorite Page One.

Will they choose The Palm Beach (Fla.) Post, which pictured Gracie Smith who was robbed while selling Girl Scout cookies? Or maybe they liked the Winston-Salem (N.C.) Journal’s “The Science of Scratching” feature that helped explain why scratching an itch feels so good.

Here are their picks:

Gene Mater, media consultant: “The creativity of the British equivalent of a U.S. copy editor has been a source of admiration. They don’t always come up with a classic head such as ‘Steals Clock, Faces Time,’ but it’s always worth checking for the neo-classics. The Daily Telegraph in London offers an interesting use of words with a photo labeled ‘A Great Briton and one who hopes to be.’ The Guardian also in London sounds alarms with a lead story warning the prime minister that ‘We must wake up to the Tory threat.’ Americans haven’t worried about the Tories since the revolution. Above the nameplate is an offer of a free film poster from ‘Battleship Potemkin.’ Do you recall that 1925 silent film, possibly the greatest motion picture of all time? Would only a London daily offer such a poster? There’ll always be an England.”

Project Editor Patty Rhule picks the Daily News in Los Angeles “because it includes Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, a dead Taliban leader, Spongebob Squarepants, Arnold Schwarzenegger, 3-D glasses, the new Audi, a chart about how much going to the Super Bowl will cost you, and a fascinating read about people who handle the city's mental-health crises, ‘Special cops cope with suicidal 7-year-old or Britney.’ This paper finds a way to pack a front page with enticing stories for a variety of interests, yet it remains uncluttered and appealing.”

Emily Hedges, assistant editor, chooses The Denver Post and its story about a youth checkers champion. “I love it when papers use front-page features. It seems to happen infrequently. The headline ‘King me’ is good. The photo really captures your attention. The pull-out quote (‘Did I do anything right?...’ ‘No’) from the game of checkers the reporter played with the kid is funny. Can’t go wrong with kids.”

As for me, designers’ use of numbers is alluring. The State in Columbia, S.C., uses the New England Patriots’ flawless season to examine perfection. Clever story idea, good localization and an attractive design all add up.

Favorite front page? My real answer just might be: All of them.

kkennedy@freedomforum.org Kate Kennedy is front-pages editor at the Newseum.

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