May 11, 2007

Today's Front Pages Analysis

Two familiar names call it quits; tossing and turning to court

A day of departures brought news from Britain that Prime Minister Tony Blair will leave office in June. The Guardian of London was among newspapers that quoted Blair, a staunch U.S. ally: “I did what I thought was right.”

With Blair’s announcement coming early in the day, U.S. newspapers were able to look at impact. “Blair is out; will Brown back war?” The Atlanta Journal-Constitution asked about Blair’s apparent successor. The Tennessean of Nashville provided reaction and analysis by quoting a history professor and British expatriates.

Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s departure from his late father’s company topped the St. Louis Post-Dispatch : “Earnhardt takes new turn.” The Tampa (Fla.) Tribune gave the story soap-opera treatment with “As the wheels turn” -- a look at the family clash that convinced the NASCAR superstar to become a free agent.

President Bush departed from his interest in a no-strings-attached Iraq war spending bill and agreed to consider benchmarks to measure progress in Iraq. “Bush gives ground on Iraq war funding,” the Chicago Tribune said.

People aren’t departing marriages, said the many newspapers that printed an AP story about a steady decline in divorce. “Rate hits lowest level since 1970, but experts differ on reason why,” said the Columbus (Ga.) Ledger-Enquirer, which graphed the trend.

Today’s images: Pope Benedict’s visit to Latin America gave Brazilian editors a variety of colorful images to choose from, and the pope appeared on most front pages.

Photos provided dramatic coverage of wildfires in the West and Southeast. An image of smoke rising above Catalina Island was spread across the Press-Telegram of Long Beach, Calif. The Daily Breeze of Torrance, Calif., added pictures of evacuees. Across the country, the St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times showed smoke and haze in its coverage of 236 wildfires in the state.

The day’s headline: “Cheat sheets?” asked The Palm Beach (Fla.) Post, which reported “consumers tossing and turning their way into court, claiming they’ve been misled over thread counts of pricier bed linens.”

Kate Kennedy, a former newspaper Page One editor, is director/diversity programs.

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