March 19, 2008

Today's Front Pages Analysis

War and race Page 1 topics

On a day with big news about an interest-rate cut and New York’s new governor’s admitting to past affairs, two other stories dominated front pages.

Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama’s speech about race in America and the fifth anniversary of war in Iraq were the top headlines of the day.

The Times Daily in Florence, Ala., borrowed a page from Jane Austen to say, “Pride and prejudice: Obama urges nation to break its racial stalemate.”

“Obama: Racial resentment colorblind” said the Arizona Daily Star, with pullout quotes, pro and con, of reaction to the speech. “Obama’s Pivotal Moment: Church Leaders Keep Their Eyes on Race Drama” was the local take of The Bakersfield Californian. “The Speech of His Life” declared Chicago’s Sun-Times.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported “Obama says blacks have no monopoly on anger,” with helpful subheads “Context on controversy” and “Unity reemphasized.”

Long Island’s Newsday asked the question on many minds: “Can Obama Bridge the Divide?”

The fifth anniversary of the U.S. invasion in Iraq found varied approaches:

  • The Anchorage Daily News led with images of a toppled Saddam Hussein statue, and the snow-flecked coffin of a U.S. soldier, for “5 years in Iraq.”
  • In Berkeley, a city known for its anti-war protests, the East Bay Daily News was “Bracing for the masses.”
  • Ontario, Calif.’s Inland Valley Daily Bulletin took a provocative approach. Against a backdrop image of a burning Baghdad, editors asked, in giant typeface, “How much longer?”
  • The San Francisco Chronicle put 53 photos on its front page of “The Bay Area’s Fallen.”
  • In Colorado, the Rocky Mountain News of Denver took a personal approach to the toll of war, with a photo of a Marine’s widow and the son he never met in “… sacrifice isn’t limited to soldiers and happy endings can be few and far between.”
  • In New Hampshire, the Portsmouth Herald had a photo of a soldier holding his Purple Heart reaching through its nameplate.

prhule@newseum.org Patty Rhule is a project editor at the Newseum.

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