April 7, 2008

Today's Front Pages Analysis

Are there any news? Well yes, no and maybe

In the long ago we worked in a newsroom where the boss would come in every morning and ask “Are there any news?” to which the accepted reply was “No, there are not a single new.” That’s the way we felt this morning when we looked at today’s dailies on our desk, struck only by a typo — an unusual occurrence — in a headline on Page One of The New York Times (“When Foreigners by the Factory: 2 Towns, Opposite Paths.”) So we looked at dailies we don’t read too often to see if “there are any news” besides the election, the war in Iraq and the economic situation.

The Dothan (Ala.) Eagle squares off “Attack kills three U.S. troops, wound 31,” and leads with “Depression-era work program made an impact,” while The Morning News in Bentonville, Ark., leads with a local killing, plays up the economy cutting college scholarships and notes that the state Senate is less unified. The Sun in San Bernardino, Calif., also plays up area news, squaring-off “Casinos hit jackpot,” reporting how gambling places owned by Southern California American Indian tribes are doing well. The Fort Collins Coloradoan plays up a plan for a reservoir that would restock the trout supply and get rid of “invaders,” and the Republican American in Waterbury, Conn., focuses on proposed crime legislation, noting that “Three-strikes bill likely to be hot campaign issue in next election.”

The Ledger in Lakeland, Fla., goes with the war, leading with “4 U.S. Soldiers Killed in Iraq,” and The Valdosta (Ga.) Daily Times reports “No Iraq progress,” while the Mattoon Journal Gazette in Illinois plays up another national story “Study: Medicine mix-ups hurt about 1 in 15 hospitalized kids.” The Porter County Post-Tribune in Merrillville, Ind., goes for the election, reporting “Chelsea stumps for mom at rally in East Chicago” and pointing out “Indiana key in presidential primary.” The Times-Republican out in Marshalltown, Iowa, finds Page One space for two international stories — Iraq and the meeting of Bush and Putin. We were a little puzzled by the Daily World in Opelousas, La., Page One story about “Trash for roads debated,” while The Telegraph in Nashua, N.H., has a similar Page One story that “Trash cash could fix town’s potholes,” both meaning that handling trash from other areas could provide money for roads.

The Forum in Fargo, N.D., has an all-caps head offering the rhetorical question “SAY IT AIN’T SNOW” with a Page One photo to prove that it is.

We’re not beaten. We’ll check again tomorrow to see if there are any news.

Gene Mater is a Freedom Forum media consultant.

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