August 5, 2008

Today's Front Pages Analysis

Weather is Page One news again in some parts of U.S.

With apologies to Oscar Wilde, who claimed that “Conversation about the weather is the last refuge of the unimaginative,” we have weather today — in Illinois, Texas and Louisiana.

Two front pages play up Illinois storms. The Daily Herald in suburban Chicago offers a big photo of a lightning strike — one might call it a striking picture but we won’t — and a report that “Storms rake area.” The Daily Chronicle in DeKalb leads with “County hit by powerful wind storm.”

In Texas, some coastal areas are bracing for Tropical Storm Edouard and that made Page One across the state. The Amarillo Globe-News reports “Texas coast braces for Edouard,” the Austin American-Statesman warns “Edouard deluge on way,” The Beaumont Enterprise says “Edouard inbound,” and the Corpus Christi Caller Times explains in its lead headline “Storm builds, should arrive this morning.” The Galveston County Daily News tells us “Edouard churns,” the Houston Chronicle leads with “Texas coast boards up as Edouard bears down,” and the Victoria Advocate squares off at the top of Page One “Local hospitals ready for storms.” That’s just a sampling but the message is clear.

Meanwhile, in Louisiana, The Advocate in Baton Rouge warns in a five-column headline “Edouard could hit today,” The Daily Advertiser in Lafayette banners “Coast preps for storm,” and The Times in Shreveport uses much of the front page to warn “Edouard set to make landfall.” The Times-Picayune in New Orleans has a box above the nameplate reporting “Texas and LA. coasts brace for Edouard,” with details inside. The Town Talk in Alexandria uses a different approach, with a story about “Edouard on minds of World Series teams from coastal areas.”

We confess that we didn’t read any of the stories, ever mindful of Mark Twain’s unproven claim that “Weather is a literary specialty, and no untrained hand can turn out a good article on it.”

Gene Mater is a Freedom Forum media consultant.

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