June 4, 2008

Today's Front Pages Analysis

Page 1 records history as Obama secures Democratic nomination

“History!”

The Daily News of New York used the one-word headline as Barack Obama became the first African-American to be a major party's presidential nominee.

“Claiming a place in history,” said The Oregonian in Portland, which pictured Obama and his wife, Michelle, across the width of its page. Said the Idaho Statesman in Boise: “In a nation still carrying 400 years of racial baggage, Obama’s victory marks ‘an extraordinary moment.’”

Obama claimed the Democratic nomination in a speech in St. Paul, Minn., site of the Republicans’ national convention in September. The Pioneer Press, like the San Francisco Chronicle and The Seattle Times, quoted Obama in its banner headline. “‘This is Our Time,’” it said. Across the Mississippi, the Star Tribune of Minneapolis said: “Thousands jam downtown St. Paul as the Illinois senator becomes the first black major-party nominee.”

Tim Russert of NBC called Tuesday night’s events — a claim of victory by Obama, a non-concession speech by Hillary Clinton and an address kicking off the general-election campaign by Republican John McCain — a trifecta. The Detroit Free Press best captured news from the Democrats: “He’s in, but she’s not out.”

Speaking of great headlines, The Star-Ledger of Newark said: “Clinton speaks one ‘u’ word (unity) but not another (uncle).” Washington Post label headlines were as good as its main headlines: “Slogging to Victory,” “‘What Does Hillary Want?’” and “A Maryland Superdelegate’s Diary.”

Analysis pieces were common. “Next on Agenda Is Clinton’s Role,” The New York Times said. Some focused on Obama — “How an upstart derailed the ‘inevitable’ nominee,” the Houston Chronicle said; others on his opponent — “For Clinton, end began in Iowa,” The Philadelphia Inquirer said.

There also was local reaction. The Providence (R.I.) Journal said, “Locally, African-Americans take pride in Obama,” while the Lexington (Ky.) Herald-Leader noted: “Kentuckians Like Obama/Clinton Idea.”

Several states had primaries Tuesday, but they mattered little to many front pages. From South Dakota, the Argus Leader in Sioux Falls summed it up: “Clinton Takes State, Obama Wins Nation.” The Great Falls Tribune said: “Montana’s superdelegates quick to endorse Obama.”

On Tuesday evening, an MSNBC commentator looked to European front pages and noted that they weren’t mentioning Clinton. That wasn’t completely true. The Guardian of London used a large centerpiece to say: “Clinton’s White House dream draws to an end.” Clinton appeared on front pages in various parts of the world — Italy, France, the Netherlands and Lebanon, among others. Obama made headlines in Ireland, Spain, Germany, Israel, Peru and Chile. From The Globe and Mail in Toronto: “It’s Obama for president.”

Kate Kennedy is front pages editor at the Newseum.

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