October 28, 2008

Today's Front Pages Analysis

Some dailies play up Stevens’ conviction; others put story inside.

It took a federal jury to do it but the newspaper of record — The New York Times — and the major daily in the nation’s capital — The Washington Post — agree that the conviction of Sen. Ted Stevens of Alaska tops the economy and the election as THE story of the day.

“Stevens found guilty on 7 counts,” reports the Post, and “Senator is guilty over his failures to disclose gifts,” reports the Times in their lead stories this morning. The smaller capital daily, The Washington Times, banners “Stevens guilty on all 7 counts.”

In Alaska, the Anchorage Daily News has a two-line banner head reading “Stevens guilty on all counts: ‘It’s not over yet,’ he says.”

For the rest of the nation’s dailies, there was varied coverage of the verdict in the trial of the Senate’s longest-serving Republican. Stevens is the fifth U.S. senator ever convicted of a crime, and his name is on next Tuesday’s ballot. The Philadelphia Inquirer leads with a one-column headline “Alaska’s Stevens is found guilty,” while The Courier-Journal in Louisville, Ky., West Hawaii Today in Kailua Kona, and The News Journal in Wilmington, Del., all felt the story worth top-of-Page-One play. Then the story fades away from some Page One stories to teases to nothing.

The Los Angeles Times has an above-the-fold picture and story that “Corruption conviction doesn’t daunt Stevens,” the Casper (Wyo.) Star-Tribune has the story at the bottom of the page, as do the Deseret News in Salt Lake City, the Las Vegas Review-Journal, the Gazette-Times in Corvallis, Ore., the Great Falls (Mont.) Tribune, The Lewiston (Idaho) Tribune, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, The Detroit News and The Denver Post.

Then there were dailies that teased an inside story about Stevens, starting with our friends at The Monitor in McAllen, Texas, with photo and tease next to the masthead, as high up as possible without going off Page One. The Commercial Appeal in Memphis, Tenn., runs a tease and photo at the bottom of the page, The Boston Globe does it at the top of column one, The Plain Dealer in Cleveland and the Omaha (Neb.) World-Herald do it in the middle of that column, while The News & Observer in Raleigh, N.C., teases at the top of the page next to the lead story.

The longest list would be of the U.S. dailies carrying nothing about Stevens on Page One. At least we didn’t see any maps showing where to find Alaska.

Gene Mater is a Freedom Forum media consultant.

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