October 14, 2008

Today's Front Pages Analysis

U.S. bolsters banks, giving bounce to the Dow

How quickly fortunes can change.

After a brutal week on Wall Street, the Dow was up 936 points on Monday, the largest point gain ever. That prompted relief from Wyoming (“Relief at last!” said the Tribune-Eagle in Cheyenne.) to North Carolina (“A sigh of relief,” The Charlotte Observer said.).

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette called it “A reversal of fortune,” while the Rocky Mountain News in Denver described it as a “U-turn on Wall St.” “Stocks leap back from the edge,” said The Oregonian in Portland.

While some front pages focused solely on the Dow, the news behind the news was the move by the government to invest $250 billion in banks. The news was so significant that The New York Times and The Washington Post each devoted two-line banner headlines to the news. “U.S. Forces Nine Major Banks To Accept Partial Nationalization,” The Post said. In fewer words, The Sacramento (Calif.) Bee said: “U.S. tosses lifeline to banks.”

Many headlines responded to cause and effect and tied the banking move and Dow surge. “Plans to stabilize banks delight Wall St.,” the Chicago Tribune said. “Bold move sends stocks soaring,” the St. Louis Post-Dispatch said.

There was a hint of optimism in the air. “New plan lifts market, hopes,” The Honolulu Advertiser said. But the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel asked the question we all have: “Stocks soar, but will it last?”

The U.S. is following in the steps of Europe, which took action on its banks on Monday. “Nations act, markets soar,” The Boston Globe said. Said The Guardian of London: “Day the markets breathed again.”

Voting today: The U.S. presidential campaign still has three weeks to go. But Canadians go to the polls today in a federal election. The Hamilton Spectator told its readers: “After 141 years and 39 parliaments, today you decide who will be the next prime minister of Canada.” The Toronto Star pictured four candidates with the label “Why I deserve your vote.” But noting economic challenges and internal rifts, The Globe and Mail of Toronto said, “Leaders face tough fight beyond finish.”

Kate Kennedy is front-pages editor at the Newseum.

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