August 8, 2007

Today's Front Pages Analysis

Two stories top all the others: Home-run record and mine rescue

The good and the bad often make brothers and sisters of us all. For many newspaper editors, there were two stories worthy of Page One play – San Francisco Giant Barry Bonds setting a new home-run record and rescuers’ continuing efforts to save the six miners trapped in a Utah coal mine.

The Las Vegas Review-Journal played the stories as twin leads. “Effort to save coal miners in Utah stalls,” it said in the right-hand columns. Bonds’ “Cherished record” was the newspaper’s centerpiece. For The Fresno (Calif.) Bee, not far from where the baseball record was set, a photo and the number 756 centered the page, while the lead story said: “Seismic activity stymies rescuers.”

The Santa Barbara (Calif.) News-Press had a banner over its nameplate that told it all: “Bonds blasts into history with No. 756.” Bonds broke a record held by Henry Aaron, who made baseball history and front-page news in April 1974.

The Denver Post devoted most of its page to a big 756 photo, while telling its readers that “Rescue effort ‘back at square one.’” The Florida Times-Union in Jacksonville used a skyline “756 Bonds becomes all-time home run king” with the off-lead story “New seismic activity sets back effort to rescue 6 miners.” It was that way for The Lewiston (Idaho) Tribune, with “Bonds is new king” above the nameplate and the off-lead headline “Exec: Seismic shuts down efforts to save miners.” For The Press of Atlantic City, N.J., it was a Bonds skyline and “Tremors halt rescue effort at Utah mine” as the story below.

Beaver County (Pa.) Times also had the Bonds story up high and a story below the fold saying “Seismic activity stops rescue.” The Longview (Texas) News-Journal used the top of the page to tell readers that “Barry Bonds claims home run king crown,” while at the bottom of the page is the sad headline: “‘Back to square one’ in search for miners.”

Gene Mater is a Freedom Forum media consultant.

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