July 1, 2008

Today's Front Pages Analysis

Some literature in a hurry in your hometown newspaper

Matthew Arnold, an English poet, writer and cultural critic who died in 1888, may not be one of the favorites in your household, but he is a hero to some for having contended that "Journalism is literature in a hurry." Of course, we have to give a positive spin to what Matthew meant. Today, we thought that we would do a little spot-checking to see what dailies are telling local readers.

The East Valley Tribune in Scottsdale, Ariz., seems to offer a positive reaction to the high gasoline prices in reporting “less 4th of July travel,” while The Sentinel-Record in Hot Springs, Ark., goes the other way and leads with a study showing that “Visitors spent $309M+” and The Sun in San Bernardino, Calif., offers a literary “Crash site seems surreal next day.”

The Denver Post has an off-lead piece about “Power to the street people” in the upcoming Democratic National Convention, contending that “City has no plans to hide the homeless during all the hoopla.” The Hartford Courant in Connecticut has two arty heads to invite the reader — “A show of care” about violence and “An avenue to controversy” about the historic district.

In Florida, the Naples Daily News has an inviting headline at the bottom of Page One: “Free gas for life? That’s the (winning) ticket, says Florida Lottery.” The Moscow-Pullman Daily News in Idaho leads with “Committee fine-tuning designs for arts pavilion,” and The Herald-Times in Bloomington, Ind., plays up the power of MUSIC, and they spell it in capital letters. The Chicago Tribune offers as its off-lead “I’m now reading a story on microblogs.” The Morning Sentinel in Waterville, Maine, plays up “Community garden offers families a chance to produce and give something back” and the Duluth News Tribune in Minnesota reports on a new book of photos showing the faces of the town of Ely.

The Lincoln Journal Star in Nebraska squares off a poignant story about “Former WWII pilots get to ride in a Flying Fortress again.” The Post-Standard in Syracuse, N.Y., reports that the local United Way hears the “needs of the smallest” and helps teen parents and their babies, while Bluffton Today in South Carolina reports on residents joining a “town effort to chart neighborhoods’ future” and the Gazette-Times in Corvallis, Ore., reports on a “Vehicle running on sunshine,” complete with photo. The Post-Crescent in Appleton, Wis., has an inviting Page One story about “Students open eyes to brighter future” and a program that “gets American Indians on degree track.”

It isn’t all the usual “two dead, three hurt in car crash.” There’s some hurried literature along the way in your hometown newspaper.

Gene Mater is a Freedom Forum media consultant.

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