August 18, 2008

Today's Front Pages Analysis

Asian newspapers play up Olympics with photos, stories

Do Asian newspapers care about those Olympic Games in China? Yes, indeed, and not just in China.

The Borneo Bulletin in Seri Begawan, Brunei Darussalem (which is a mouthful for a place name), has a Page One photo of swimming champion Michael Phelps and a story reporting “8 out of 8 – Phelps’ phenomenal feat.” The off-lead story in The Telegraph in Calcutta, India, also is about Phelps and here he is the “Eighth wonder of the water world,” while DNA in Mumbai, India, has Phelps’ “Lucky 8” plus a story asking about “False start in sprint?” Anandabara Patrika in Calcutta, India, offers a photo of the American hero in the water.

The Jakarta Post in Indonesia leads with the local win in badminton, Asahi Shimbun in Tokyo has Olympics photos, while the English edition of the Asahi Shimbun figures its readers get sports news elsewhere and ignores the Olympics on Page One.

Stars and Stripes’ Pacific edition, published in Tokyo, devotes much of the front page to the Olympics, the Star in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, has a photo of a local badminton star who won a silver medal with a caption about “So near yet so far,” while The Sun in the same city whoops up “King Phelps” and his wins. All the Seoul dailies on our Web site have front-page Olympics stories.

As for China itself and Hong Kong, much of Page One of The Beijing News is about Phelps. Oriental Morning Post in Shanghai plays up a Chinese gold medal winner, The Wall Street Journal Asia in Hong Kong tells the business community and others that “Phelps seeks gold out of the water,” while the South China Morning Post in Hong Kong makes East and West happy winners with a banner head reporting “Double happiness as history made,” noting “8 Phelps sets record for most golds won by an athlete at a single Games” and “8 China secures biggest single-day gold medals haul, taking tally to a record.”

Gene Mater is a Freedom Forum media consultant.

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