May 28, 2008

Today's Front Pages Analysis

Trend spotter? Page One’s record is up and down

The rap: Newspapers spot a trend about the time the trend is over. But a look at today’s front pages shows that’s not completely true.

“Thieves may be watching your flat-screen TVs,” said the Orlando (Fla.) Sentinel, noting that law-enforcement officials across the country have reported an increase in flat-screen thefts.

The Argus Leader in Sioux Falls, S.D., pictured a “momtrepreneur” and localized the national trend of moms starting businesses that cater to other moms.

In a centerpiece called “Engine troubles,” The Spokesman-Review reported that Spokane, Wash., like many cities, has experienced a significant increase in the number of medical runs for its fire departments. The result: wear and tear on fire engines and suggestions to buy cheaper trucks designed for medical emergencies.

Newspapers across the U.S. reported on government data that show childhood obesity rates peaking. “Study shows percentage has leveled off after 25 years of increases,” the Lincoln (Neb.) Journal Star said in its lead story.

And newspapers in tornado-prone areas published an AP story noting that 2008 already is the deadliest tornado year since 1998. “A whirlwind year,” The Commercial Appeal in Memphis, Tenn., said. USA Today, a trend spotter, first reported the stretch of severe weather two weeks ago.

In other trends, the Austin (Texas) American-Statesman reported that criminal cases against immigrants are up, the Portsmouth (N.H.) Herald said tourists are spending less in this tight economy, and The Tampa (Fla.) Tribune illustrated the rising costs associated with high school graduation.

We all know that the trend for gas prices is up, up, up. In today’s headline, The Oregonian said: “Drivers face crude awakening.” The Journal News of Westchester County, N.Y., and The Philadelphia Inquirer were two newspapers that chronicled commuters’ move to mass transit.

Tell all: “Ex-Press Aide Writes That Bush Misled U.S. on Iraq,” The Washington Post said about a new book by former White House press secretary Scott McClellan. The contents of the book, which also described the president as “authentic” and “sincere,” were first reported by Politico.

Kate Kennedy is front pages editor at the Newseum.

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