August 15, 2008

Today's Front Pages Analysis

A thousand words, and then some more

Imagine how boring your hometown newspaper would look if it were filled only with text. It’s the photographs that add life to those black-and-white pages.

This week, the Olympics in Beijing have been a visual smorgasbord for photojournalists and a bonanza for newspaper editors looking to liven Page One.

Today, the Los Angeles Times and The Sacramento (Calif.) Bee both carry whimsical staff photographs of newly minted gold-medalist Nastia Liukin on the front page. The Times captures the American gymnast in a mid-air split, while the Bee catches her in the midst of a back-flip.

How does she do that?

Other newspapers found fanciful photos closer to home. Photojournalists at The Register-Guard in Eugene, Ore., The Seattle Times in Washington and The Columbian in Vancouver, Wash., turned their lenses to the region’s summer heat wave with pictures of, respectively: a 5-year-old fairgoer dousing his head with a cup of cold water; a goggle-eyed swimmer happy to be underwater at the local pool; and a disgruntled toddler who just can’t keep her popsicle from melting.

Can you feel the heat?

Down in Miami, it’s not heat but the return of school that’s bringing the blues. As The Miami Herald shows, those vaccination shots sure do hurt — for both mother and daughter. In Melbourne, Florida Today goes after another fear: alligators. It’s safe to say that picture is as close as you should get to those toothy beasts.

Drama ruled the day in Colorado, where a Fort Collins Coloradoan photograph of a menacing storm looked like a scene from “The Wizard of Oz.” But it was the quiet poignancy of a Haitian pastor facing deportation, as depicted in Connecticut’s Republican-American, that really lent credence to the saying: Pictures are worth a thousand words.

Sometimes more.

Bridget Gutierrez is an exhibits writer at the Newseum

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