August 29, 2008

Today's Front Pages Analysis

Front pages embrace change to report acceptance speech

The Oregonian in Portland said it was a “Nomination like no other,” and the St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times called it a “Dream Night.”

And so a special night deserved a special page.

Many front pages changed their formats to incorporate large photos, large headlines, pulled quotes and other special treatments to share news from Barack Obama’s speech accepting the Democratic nomination for president.

“Obama’s Promise,” The Denver Post said. With just one story on its special convention front page, it added: “On historic night, nominee vows path to prosperity, justice.”

Two-thirds of The Plain Dealer of Cleveland was a dramatic Getty Images photo of Obama on stage at Denver’s Invesco Field. The Chicago Tribune used an AP photo with flags waving. The Indianapolis Star and The Kansas City (Mo.) Star showed Obama before a sea of “Change” placards. The Houston Chronicle printed a photo of the Obamas and the Bidens the width of its page. The Virginian-Pilot of Norfolk pictured a crowded stadium and said, “Amid a Sea of Support, Obama Accepts Nod.” The Bakersfield Californian managed to include eight photos to illustrate convention news.

Headlines focused on Obama’s words. “‘America, now is not the time for small plans,’” The Burlington (Vt.) Free Press quoted Obama. California front pages alone showed the range of quotes from the speech before more than 75,000. The Sun, San Bernardino: “‘It’s about you.’” Daily Breeze, Torrance: “‘Eight is Enough.’” The Oakland Tribune: “‘Now is the time.’” Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, Ontario: “‘I get it.’”

What wasn’t on the front page: News of John McCain’s GOP running mate wasn’t leaked. McCain will appear today with his choice in Dayton, Ohio, where the Daily News said, “McCain arrives, stays mum about VP.”

Of things to come: On the front page of The Times-Picayune of New Orleans, convention news shared the stage with a potential hurricane targeting the Gulf of Mexico. “Evacuation order ‘very probable’ for Saturday,” it said ahead of Tropical Storm Gustav. “State, federal agencies prepare united response,” The Times of Shreveport, La., reported. Today is the third anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, and the timing of Gustav’s arrival put the coastal areas on edge. “Nerves Tighten,” the Sun Herald of Biloxi, Miss., said. Florida front pages also were keeping an eye on Tropical Storm Hanna in the Atlantic. “Storms Flank Florida,” The Tampa Tribune said.

Kate Kennedy is front-pages editor at the Newseum.

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