June 12, 2008

Today's Front Pages Analysis

Twister tragedy takes front page

Sometimes a story’s so big it crowds out other news and takes over the front page. Today’s example: A deadly twister in Iowa that struck, of all things, a Boy Scout camp.

With four deaths and dozens of injuries in Little Sioux, the nearby Sioux City Journal devoted Page One to a “Night of terror,” with a photograph that takes up nearly half of the page, two articles, a locator map and a box referring readers to “Complete coverage online.”

The Omaha World-Herald in Nebraska (about 60 miles away) gives the news similar treatment. Photos from the scene and five stacked headlines — summarized with the brief, but wrenching, “At nature’s mercy” — convey the tragedy’s scope.

Although The Denver Post teased to an inside story on the twister, its competitor, the Rocky Mountain News, filled its cover with a photograph of a distraught Boy Scout mother.

Because destructive storms have been pounding the Midwest this week, the Boy Scout report got swept up into pages at The Gazette in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and the Lincoln (Neb.) Journal Star, which look at the larger weather woes.

The story was big news in other parts of the country, too. The Chicago Tribune placed a staff-written article on the Boy Scouts at the bottom of its font page; the Los Angeles Times displayed a photo of rescuers prominently; and New York’s Daily News alerted readers to the “TWISTER!” — underneath photos of a model and a professional baseball player, of course.

Bridget Gutierrez is an exhibits writer at the Newseum.

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