February 18, 2008

Today's Front Pages Analysis

Little and little-known Kosovo makes big news everywhere

Kosovo's declaration of independence made Page One of many American dailies today, leaving many to wonder where and what is Kosovo. Well, it's a province in Serbia in the former Yugoslavia, a small area of some two million inhabitants, 90 percent of whom are ethnic Albanians and the rest Serbs. The largely Muslim province is land-locked, poor, and a United Nations protectorate policed by about 16,000 NATO troops. Serbia and Russia say Kosovo cannot break away. But many U.S. newspapers are telling their readers that it happened.

The Arizona Republic in Phoenix squares off "Kosovo claims independence," The Birmingham (Ala.) News says, "Kosovo makes declaration of independence amid protests," the Arkansas Democrat Gazette in Little Rock leads with "Kosovo asserts independence from Serbia," and the Los Angeles Times has a four-column Page One photo and the headline "Kosovo takes a big leap of faith." The Denver Post wisely states that "Free Kosovo faces obstacles as new nation," The Miami Herald leads with "Newest nation sparks political tempest," The Atlanta Journal-Constitution offers a photo and the tease to an inside story "A new nation, more or less." The Lewiston Tribune in Idaho reports "Kosovo says it's now a free state," the Duluth News Tribune in Minnesota plays up "Kosovo declares independence," with a photo, The Providence Journal in Rhode Island leads with "Kosovo severs its ties with Serbia" and the Winston-Salem Journal in North Carolina tells its readers that "Leaders urge restraint after Kosovo's declaration." The Waco Tribune-Herald in Texas reports "Kosovo independence evokes joy, ire."

As might be expected, it's a bigger story in Europe. Die Presse in Vienna, Austria, has a photo and a banner head reporting "Kosovo independence splits the world," noting that the West is in favor while Serbia and Russia are opposed to the separation. It's a story at the top of Page One of Poslovni dnevnik in neighboring Zagreb, Croatia, and in SME in Bratislava, Slovakia, while Der Tagesspiegel in Berlin has a photo and a story reporting that "Belgrade will ‘never' recognize Kosovo," and The Daily Telegraph in London says, "Serbs and Russians outraged as Kosovo declares its independence." Check your local newspaper to see what happens next; there will be more.

Gene Mater is a Freedom Forum media consultant.

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