March 12, 2008

Today's Front Pages Analysis

Spitzer and STDs make it a "sex"-y day for news

A study claiming 25 percent of teenage girls have a sexually transmitted disease was front-page news for several newspapers across the country today. The Press-Enterprise in Riverside, Calif., said, "Teen sex study 'alarming,'" and mentioned that the study also said 15 percent of teen girls "have more than one disease." The Albuquerque (N.M.) Journal headline was a simple but bold "1 in 4." The Journal also included a diagram with 35 female outlines, with one of every four colored in which shows the statistics more visually.

Day two of the Eliot Spitzer sex-scandal coverage brought more in-depth reporting and different angles to front pages. The Denver Post, and a lot of other front pages, wanted to know "Should wronged wives stop utilizing the old 'Stand-By'?" St. Petersburg, Fla.'s Tampa Bay Times's headline read "Slammed By Your Man." The sub-head, under a broken-heart graphic, said, "The guy's been a real jerk, but his wife dutifully stands beside him. Why?" A different angle taken by The Record in Hackensack, N.J., was writing a story on the "Odd couple" who ran the call-girl ring. The Times Union from Albany, N.Y., was one of only a handful of papers to make the proclamation "Spitzer resigning." Most weren't ready to call it yet.

The extra day also allowed the New York tabloids more time to come up with more creative and audacious front pages. New York's Metro's had all "The sordid details: $80K and unsafe sex" with a photo collage including various photos of Spitzer, his wife and hotels. The New York Post followed up its "Ho No!" headline from yesterday with the headline "Hooked!" and the promise of a story inside from call girl "Sienna" with the headline "I Slept With Spitzer."

Finally, in less sexy news, Barack Obama won the Mississippi primary. Mississippi's Hattiesburg American had the headline "Big Win For Obama," while Jackson's Clarion-Ledger said "Obama Cruises To Win." But, it's not over yet, and the Pennsylvania papers reflected that. The Patriot-News from Harrisburg talked of "Primary fever" and had front-page Q&As with Hillary Clinton and Obama. The Reading (Pa.) Eagle caricatured both candidates riding a (Democratic, we're sure) donkey under the headline "Voter frenzy." Frenzy, indeed.

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

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