May 22, 2008

Today's Front Pages Analysis

Idol’ win rocks hometown papers; Page One digs ‘Indy’

“Idol” and “Indy” gobbled up plenty of real estate on today's front pages.

“American Idol,” television's most popular show, crowned Missouri native and Oklahoma resident David Cook as its new champion last night, and his hometown newspapers played it up big. “Cook conquers voters,” was the above-the-fold headline in Tulsa World. “Oklahoma’s new ‘American Idol,’” read a bold headline in The Oklahoman.

“Idol” runner-up David Archuleta, a Murray, Utah, teenager, received some headlines of his own despite losing out on the Fox show. “Murray teen runner-up to David Cook,” lamented The Herald Journal of Logan, Utah. “At the End, Utah’s David Falls Short,” The Salt Lake Tribune declared.

With the “American Idol” audience averaging almost 30 million viewers, it’s not surprising to see these newspapers go big with stories about their hometown heroes. But other papers with no dog in the race also put the story on their front pages, including The Bakersfield Californian with a picture of the happy winner that took up a third of the page.

Meanwhile, “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull,” the latest movie starring the swashbuckling archaeologist, opens in theaters today and plenty of front pages made note. “He's back, with attitude,” wrote the Sioux City (Iowa) Journal leading into a rave review by the newspaper's critic.

Some papers localized the movie's opening. “Archaeologists fond of Indiana Jones” was the headline in The Augusta Chronicle story profiling a Georgia archaeologist who is, well, fond of the movie's hero. But an article in the Johnson City Press had a different angle: “Professor: Glamor of screen role overstated” headlined the story about an East Tennessee State University professor who says an archeologist's life is not nearly as exciting as the movie portrays it.

But then again, the Victoria (Texas) Advocate may inspire teenage boys everywhere to consider a career in archaeology with this headline: “Why Chicks Dig Indy.”

John Maynard is an exhibits writer at the Newseum.

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