May 21, 2008

Today's Front Pages Analysis

Page One balances Obama’s good news, Kennedy’s grim news

Two significant U.S. stories vied for Page One space after Barack Obama celebrated being “within reach” of the Democratic presidential nomination and the Senate learned that one of its members has a brain tumor.

USA Today, The Washington Post and The New York Times led with the late-Tuesday news that Barack Obama had gained the majority of pledged delegates after Oregon’s primary. All three also reported that Sen. Edward Kennedy has a cancerous brain tumor.

The Los Angeles Times went beyond Tuesday’s primary results to use a news analysis as its lead: “Obama strategy will be tested.” The Times evoked the emotion of the Kennedy story, publishing a photo of Kennedy with family members and a photo of Robert C. Byrd, the only senator who has served longer than Kennedy, crying during a tribute on the Senate floor.

Split wins in presidential primaries: “One big win closer,” The Oregonian of Portland said about Obama in an all-primary front page. The Register-Guard in Eugene noted, “The senator’s victory gives him a commanding lead against Clinton.” The Statesman Journal in Salem, the capital, had an air of excitement, noting Oregon’s role: “State revels in most exciting Democratic race in 40 years.”

From Kentucky, the Lexington Herald-Leader balanced Hillary Clinton’s big win in the state’s primary with Obama’s move closer to the nomination. The Herald-Leader used the Kennedy story at the bottom of its page. The Courier-Journal of Louisville, which printed an eight-page election section, paired photos of Obama and Clinton and said of Clinton’s win: “Ky. gains might not affect nomination.”

To celebrate the delegate milestone, Obama returned to Iowa, site of his first caucus/primary victory. “Obama thanks Iowa, looks to November,” The Des Moines Register said.

Kennedy’s “toughest fight”: Across the top of its page, The Boston Globe said: “Kennedy has malignant tumor; prognosis is uncertain at best.” The Globe, which updated its Web site with reaction, a graphic and comments/discussion shortly after the early Tuesday afternoon announcement about the Massachusetts lawmaker, devoted much of today’s Page One to the news, including a political story and local reaction, as well as a graphic outlining “Medical details” and a story on treatment. An encouraging Boston Herald said: “We’re with you, Ted.”

The Telegram & Gazette of Worcester, Mass., pulled quotes from Kennedy’s congressional colleagues and said of the senator: “Caring, helping always evident.” The Hartford (Conn.) Courant showed Sen. Christopher Dodd — “A close friend takes it hard.”

Kate Kennedy is front pages editor at the Newseum.

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