February 29, 2008

Today's Front Pages Analysis

Leap Day front pages happen once every four years

As Leap Year happens only once every four years, Feb. 29 is a special day, which was reflected on today's front pages.

The Fresno (Calif.) Bee wanted to know "What If Leap Day Were a Bonus Day?" and asked area residents what they would do if they had the extra day free.

Some people celebrated special days on Feb. 29. The News Herald in Panama City, Fla., showed a Leap baby jumping for joy under the headline "Leap, baby!" Los Angeles's Daily News talked with couples who were getting married today. No mention of how often the men will have to remember their anniversaries.

Feb. 29 always has been big news, as shown in several front-page photos of people holding clippings of their Leap births in years past. The Modesto (Calif.) Bee has a mother and a daughter — both Leap babies — holding the clipping from the daughter's birth in 1968. The Tampa (Fla.) Tribune also features a Leap baby holding the clippings about her birth in 1964 — which also were from The Tampa Tribune. The Truth in Elkhart, Ind., features a photo run in the paper 60 years ago of five Leap babies, and shots of four of the five men now at age 60 on their 12th birthday.

Other ways to celebrate Leap Day include extra content from The Augusta (Ga.) Chronicle. Extra color on the comics page and an extra joke from one of the columnists are just two of the ways they are celebrating. Doylestown, Pa.'s Intelligencer details other events on 2008's "Quirky Calendar." The Monitor (McAllen, Texas) gave us an explanation of Leap Year and also told of famous Leap Day birthdays, including Dinah Shore and Superman.

The other big story of the day was, as The Gazette in Colorado Springs, Colo., put it, “2.3M Jailed in the Land of the Free." The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's headline was "Behind Bars," and the front-page story detailed inmates and prison spending in the South. Louisville, Ky.'s Courier-Journal reminded readers, "U.S. inmate population is biggest in the world."

And finally, a story that almost ruined Friday for us: The Yakima (Wash.) Herald-Republic's headline reads, "Recess! Rejected." Turns out some schools are eliminating morning recess in favor of more instruction time. Sounds like work to us.

ehedges@newseum.org Emily Hedges is an assistant editor at the Newseum.

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