February 19, 2007

Today's Front Pages Analysis

U.S. editors can't resist sweet news; Carnival – by any name – is tops

Some newspaper editors call it a bright. It’s a story that might be light and bright, funny and bright, useful and bright – or a combination of any or all of the above. And brights may not show up every day. A few newspaper editors agreed on today’s bright.

The San Francisco Chronicle thought it worthy of a box at the top of Page One with the headline: “Some sweet news: Chocolate could be good for your memory,” and even sprinkled pieces of chocolate (art) as background for the story. The Morning News in Springdale, Ark., went medical, telling its readers that “Flavanols may aid in treating dementia,” but you’ll have to read the story for more about flavanols. The Billings Gazette inMontana, made it easy with the head “Study: Some cocoa may improve blood flow in the brain,” while the Dayton Daily News in Ohio made it even easier with “Cup of cocoa good for you.” The Intelligencer in Doylestown, Pa., advised about “Cocoa for the brain,” adding that “The chocolate drink may improve blood flow, researchers said.” The Jackson Sun in Jackson, Tenn., offered a minimal reference on Page One to the story itself on page 6A.

For some of the German-speaking areas of Europe, the carnival celebrations rated Page One coverage. For the Kleine Zeitung in Graz, Austria, a Page One box advised readers that coverage of fasching – as it is called in Austria and Bavaria – would be found on pages 11, 16 and 17. The Suedwest Presse in Ulm, Germany, carried a front-page photo of masked celebrants with reference to “thousands celebrating.” For the Braunschweiger Zeitung in Braunschweig, Germany, there is a large Page One photo, a reference to 250,000 people celebrating and the claim to being the center of Karneval celebrations – same event, different name in this part of Germany. The Sueddeutsche Zeitung in Munich, home of the biggest fasching celebration in Germany, chose to carry a Page One picture of the celebration in Brazil, perhaps to show how it’s done there.

Gene Mater is a Freedom Forum media consultant.

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