August 29, 2007

Today's Front Pages Analysis

Two years after Katrina: tribute and tribulation

Thank you. Those two powerful words topped today’s Times-Picayune, as the Gulf Coast marked the two-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.

The New Orleans newspaper devoted two-thirds of its page to thanksgiving: “Thousands of New Orleans families have been buoyed by the kindness of strangers, whether in the first desperate days of exile, or even now in the slow slog of rebuilding.”

The Sun Herald of Biloxi, Miss., also took a special approach. “Who are these people?” it asked in “A tribute to the people of South Mississippi who have endured and triumphed.” In a front-page essay, Executive Editor Stan Tiner answered the question: “They are an army of one, united by the common ground of their loss.”

The Times of Shreveport, La., used a collage of pictures, and The Clarion-Ledger in Jackson, Miss., printed the last of a four-part series: “Coast recovery caught up in issues of immigrant workers, insurance premiums and labor needs.”

From St. Petersburg, Fla., to Los Angeles, newspapers assessed the progress in rebuilding. “An old city revels in its new spirit of innovation,” the Los Angeles Times said about New Orleans.

U.S. Census data on poverty and the uninsured allowed newspapers to look at the local story. “In Indiana, 37,500 sink into poverty,” The Indianapolis Star said in a package that included charts and profiles of three women who live in poverty. The Philadelphia Inquirer printed twin stories: “Census’ take on health, wealth.”

Two U.S. senators were in the news. A photo of Sen. Tim Johnson and the quote “I am back” led the Argus Leader of Sioux Falls, S.D., which reported on Johnson’s first public appearance since he suffered a brain hemorrhage. “Craig asks forgiveness; GOP seeks ethics probe,” The Idaho Statesman of Boise said about Sen. Larry Craig, who earlier pleaded guilty to a disorderly conduct charge after an incident in an airport restroom.

McClatchy newspapers published the first interview with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki since calls last week for his resignation. The News Tribune of Tacoma, Wash., used “I’m not leaving” as the headline for the story by Leila Fadel. “Al-Maliki takes defiant tone,” The Fresno (Calif.) Bee said, with The Charlotte (N.C.) Observer adding: “Iraqi prime minister blames U.S. policies for sectarianism.”

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

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