May 13, 2008

Today's Front Pages Analysis

Wrath of nature makes Page One in dailies here, there, everywhere

The wrath of nature in many forms will be found on today’s front pages — a massive earthquake in China and, closer to home, the rainstorm-flooding near Washington, D.C., and wildfires in Florida, with some references to the continuing problems of the cyclone in Burma.

The earthquake in China leads The New York Times and The Washington Post, but we thought we would look at the dailies near where it happened. The South China Morning Post in Hong Kong carries the banner headline “Thousands perish in quake” with a large Page One photo of the devastation, while The Beijing News in China gives over all of Page One to the earthquake and The Wall Street Journal Asia in Hong Kong tells its readers, “Huge quake rips China, testing leaders.” Hint to all gentle readers looking at dailies in languages they do not understand, look for the photo of the man in the blue shirt among ruins to spot earthquake coverage; he’s on Page One of the China and Hong Kong dailies just listed. He’s also on Page One of Kompas in Jakarta, Indonesia, The Sun in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, United Daily News in Taipei, Taiwan, and The Age in Melbourne, Australia.

The Pacific edition of Stars & Stripes, published in Tokyo, keeps the Burma story alive with the lead about “A humanitarian catastrophe of genuinely epic proportions.”

About that fire, Florida Today in the other Melbourne, the one in Florida, has an attention-grabbing Page One picture with the banner headline “Palm Bay in flames” as the Orlando Sentinel tells it all with a picture and the one-word banner in all-caps: ‘INFERNO.” The Palm Beach Post reports about the “‘Worst nightmare’ in Central Florida” as “Hundreds flee wildfires.”

Finally, and closer to where we sit, The News Journal in Wilmington, Del., reports in photos and stories “Coast thrashed by winds, rain,” the Baltimore edition of The Examiner leads with “Power outages, flooding persist after heavy rain,” adding that “90,000 lose electricity as roads, schools close and motorists are stranded throughout the area,” as The Daily Times in Salisbury, Md., says it succinctly with “Late nor’easter leaves a mess.” The Sun in Baltimore, after telling its readers “Record rain across Maryland brings power outages, closes schools, flood roads, opens a huge sink hole,” leads with “Worst not over, governor warns.”

Gene Mater is a Freedom Forum media consultant.

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