August 20, 2008

Today's Front Pages Analysis

Local Olympians are front-page news

The Beijing Olympics are almost two weeks old, and yet, all over America, newspapers are still putting photos and stories from the games on their front pages. Today, let's focus on the "local athlete" angle that many papers are playing up on their front pages.

Olympic wrestler — and son of illegal immigrants — Henry Cejudo won gold by defeating Japan's Tomohiro Matsunaga. The Arizona Republic featured Cejudo on the front page, identifying him as a former wrestling champion of Maryvale High School in Phoenix. "Precious Mettle" was the headline for the Rocky Mountain News story on Cejudo, who was identified as a Coloradoan here, as he wrestled at a Colorado high school also.

Santa Ana, Calif.'s Orange County Register identified several local female athletes and their accomplishments on the front page under the headline "Women Rule." The Advocate (Baton Rouge, La.) also had photos of several local athletes in Beijing mentioned on their front page. Not all have been successful, though — Baton Rouge resident Lolo Jones tripped on a hurdle, relinquishing her lead and a gold medal in the 100-meter hurdles — as evidenced by the headline, "Olympic Highs & Lows."

Anna Tunnicliffe became the first South Floridian to win a gold medal in Beijing, according to The Miami Herald. (Tunnicliffe was also mentioned in Hampton Roads, Va.'s Link because she is an Old Dominion graduate.) Another Floridian, Tampa native Damu Cherry, lost her medal bid in the 100-meter hurdles by ".01 Seconds" according to the headline of The Tampa Tribune. The winner of that 100-meter hurdles race, Dawn Harper, was featured under the headline "Golden Dawn" on the front page of her home state's Belleville (Ill.) News-Democrat.

Ever hear of Klamath Falls, Ore.? Well, Olympian Ian Dobson has — he's from the area, and his photo and a blurb were put above the nameplate of the local Herald and News even though he hadn't yet competed at press time. The Tulsa (Okla.) World celebrated former University of Oklahoma gymnast Jonathan Horton's silver medal on the horizontal bar, and The Salt Lake Tribune had a photo of Olympic volleyball player Logan Tom on the front page. Bet she's not often referred to as a "Highland High School graduate" anymore, but she was on her hometown front page.

The more well-known Olympians may be front-page news all over the country, and they are front-page staples in their home states as well. Shawn Johnson, Iowa native and face of U.S. gymnastics, won gold on the balance beam and the story was on many Iowa front pages, including the Sioux City Journal, which also ran a front-page story on how Johnson was inspiring other local gymnasts. The Baltimore native and winner of eight gold medals in Beijing, Michael Phelps, was still on the front page of The Examiner in Baltimore, and today he was pictured with another local sports hero, Cal Ripken Jr.

ehedges@newseum.org Emily Hedges is an assistant editor at the Newseum.

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