February 25, 2008

Today's Front Pages Analysis

There’s plenty of news today, but nothing tops the Oscars

This is the kind of day that doesn’t occur all that often, when the abundance of news makes an editor wonder where to put it all. The Oscars, the change-of-sorts of the regime in Cuba, Ralph Nader announcing that he will make still another run at the presidency and the national election with all its good, bad and other developments. Indeed, an early morning call to this desk from an artist on a ship that had just docked in Puerto Rico had questions about the Oscars and nothing about the “real news.”

The Anniston Star in Alabama managed to squeeze them all in on Page One — Oscar pictures and tease to an inside story, a photo of “The new Castro,” noting that “Raul succeeds Fidel as Cuba’s leader,” with details inside and a head shot of Ralph Nader, a reference to “History repeats,” and, again, details on another page. However, the lead story is none of the above, focusing instead on a “60 Minutes” story from last night about the jailed state governor and “Charges allege prosecution was politically motivated.” The Arizona Republic in Phoenix has a sky box above the nameplate teasing the Oscars, the lead is “Nader declares bid amid criticism,” and there is a Page One photo and story about Cuba. The Sentinel-Record in Hot Springs, Ark., has a sky box about the Oscars, a top-of-the-page square-off of the Cuba story and a “Fight for the White House” story down at the bottom. The Denver Post also plays up the Oscars and leads with Cuba, while the New Haven (Conn.) Register gives over much of Page One to the “Magic of Hollywood” while everything else is of local or regional interest.

In Florida, where the Cuban story is of major interest, The Miami Herald has a photo of Raul Castro giving the V-for-victory sign topped with the head “The old guard,” while the off-lead story is about the Oscars. For the Redeye in Chicago, nothing trumps the Oscars, with a photo filling Page One of the tabloid with the head “Oscar bromance,” adding that “Academy shows its love for the Coen brothers — the pair in the picture — who pick up 3 top Oscars.”

Here and there some dailies decided to ignore the Oscars. When the day is done we’re going back to the Anchorage Daily News in Alaska that has whooped up the “Running of the reindeer,” complete with photo and the headline “Antlers away.”`

Gene Mater is a Freedom Forum media consultant.

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