May 14, 2008

Today's Front Pages Analysis

W.Va. primary: Putting Clinton’s win in perspective

As expected, Hillary Clinton won West Virginia’s Democratic primary. With the outcome anticipated, newspapers used today’s front page to try to answer the question: What does it mean?

“Observers still see Obama as nominee,” The Charleston Gazette said. The Herald-Dispatch in Huntington topped its page with an analysis: “Clinton’s big win could be too late.” The Dominion Post of Morgantown printed a McClatchy-Tribune story that began: “… Her late win in a small state likely did little to slow her rival’s march …”

From neighboring Kentucky, which has its primary next week, The Courier-Journal of Louisville said: “Clinton’s W.Va. win too late? Obama gains four more superdelegates.”

“But don’t tell that to Clinton or her supporters,” the Chicago Tribune said in a staff-written story from West Virginia. “Clinton: Race isn’t over,” the Tribune’s main headline said. The Orange County (Calif.) Register called Clinton’s 2-1 defeat of Barack Obama “A home run late in the game” but added “Clinton cruises to a large but likely symbolic win in W.Va.”

In Mississippi, a Democrat won a runoff election for a seat in the U.S. House. “Dem claims 1st District,” The Clarion-Ledger in Jackson said. The Washington Post paired the Mississippi story with its coverage of the West Virginia primary and said in advance of fall elections: “Democratic Victory May Be a Bellwether.”

Natural disasters remained on the front page, and images again proved to be an important part of coverage.

China earthquake: “China faces herculean task” of rescue and recovery, the Los Angeles Times said. It used a haunting four-column photo of a youth trapped in rubble, a photo used by many other U.S. newspapers. The Beijing News pictured a trapped girl reaching out, and the South China Morning Post in Hong Kong printed a photo of rescuers finding the bodies of schoolchildren. The Globe and Mail of Toronto used a heartbreaking photo of a rescuer holding the hand of a trapped child.

Florida wildfires: Florida Today in Melbourne photographed a resident “Returning to ashes” after wildfires destroyed homes and forced evacuations. The newspaper also used images to promote video on its Web site and to solicit reader photos.

Kate Kennedy is front pages editor at the Newseum.

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