February 4, 2008

Today's Front Pages Analysis

Primary voting? What primary voting? Super Bowl upset tops the news today

It took a Super Bowl upset to trump the day-before coverage of the first-ever, almost-national presidential primary voting, but that’s what happened as many dailies gave top billing to photos and headlines about yesterday’s ball game over tomorrow’s voting.

The Scottsdale Tribune in Arizona gives over most of Page One to the “Giant Upset” while noting below the fold “Sophisticated Ariz. voters head to polls,” with story on Page 4. The Press-Telegram in Long Beach, Calif., also plays up “A Giant upset” but officially leads with an election story. But in Colorado, the Aurora Sentinel plays up the Super Bowl with a large photo while noting way down that “Super Tuesday around corner for candidates” with details inside. The Republican-American in Waterbury, Conn., leads with “Super-size surprise” but also plays up a McCain election visit, with photo, and The Gainesville Sun in Florida whoops up “A Giant Shocker” while finding space at the bottom of the page for “All eyes on Clinton as Super Tuesday nears.” Up in Lewiston, Maine, the Sun Journal gives over almost all of Page One to “Giants slam door on imperfect Patriots” while a little to the south The Boston Globe leads with a banner head claiming “History Derailed” while The Telegraph in Nashua, N.H., plays up “A perfect upset” and spells out for all that “On this night, history belonged to the Giants.” The Providence (R.I.) Journal banner says it all — “A Giant Letdown,” as The Roanoke Times in Virginia reports about the “Super Shocker.” Editors at The Monitor in McAllen, Texas, use a different approach to the game, reporting that “America’s favorite unofficial holiday united friends, family.”

Two dailies compete for today’s Page One special prize for something different. The News Journal in Wilmington, Del., puts the Super Bowl above the nameplate and leads with “Obama insists he’s ready,” topped by a page-wide photo of the candidate talking to the crowd and claiming that “Message of hope resonates with thousands in Wilmington.” The prize, however, goes to the broadsheet The Star-Ledger in Newark, N.J., the biggest daily in the Garden State, that devotes all — and we really mean all — of Page One to a photo of the CHAMPS with a headline reading “With a last-minute touchdown pass, underdog Giants deliver a perfect ending.” Even the nameplate is incorporated in the photo. No story; that’s inside. It’s worth a visit to the Web site for a quick look.

Gene Mater is a Freedom Forum media consultant.

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