October 22, 2008

Today's Front Pages Analysis

More than election news in your local newspaper.

Watch television and the upcoming election seems to be the big story that we all care about. Not so. Indeed, we started the day skipping through the European dailies, but we found precious little U.S. election coverage. Jurnal de Caras-Severin in colorful Resita, Romania, has a small picture of John McCain, but it’s only to tease a story on Page 2. Our friends at SME in Bratislava, Slovakia, have a large Page One photo of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. But that’s about it for Europe, so we turned to U.S. coverage.

The Anniston Star in Alabama plays up “Area gas prices finally return to lower levels,” and the Anchorage Daily News in Alaska squares off at the top of Page One the trial of the senior U.S. senator, wondering “Which Stevens will jury judge?” The Arizona Daily Star in Tucson grumbles that “we’re all paying more” in taxes, while The Sentinel-Record in Hot Springs, Ark., gives major play, with photo, to the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra playing for students. The Sun in San Bernardino, Calif., leads with plans for a new 12-story court building, the Connecticut Post in Bridgeport whoops up the tried-and-true picture of “Elephants on parade” and the circus coming to town, and Florida Today in Melbourne puts possible re-starting of the Hubble telescope in space at the top of the page and the birth of twin jaguars at the bottom. The South Bend Tribune in Indiana uses the top of its Page One to ask whether “Consumers addicted to plastic?” — credit cards, that is.

The Iowa City (Iowa) Press-Citizen has a colorful “Colors of fall” Page One reporting on leaf-turning time, The Kentucky Enquirer in Fort Mitchell warns that “Some firms refusing to hire smokers,” the Times Herald in Port Huron, Mich., confirms to its readers what they probably know, that “Roads make ‘worst’ list,” and the Times Herald-Record in Middletown, N.Y., uses most of Page One for a picture and a story about “SUV stolen, abandoned with 3-year-old inside.”

Finally, two dailies play up local library censorship problems. The Gazette-Times in Corvallis, Ore., tells its readers that “Library items raise eyebrows,” warning that “Not even Muppets safe from patron complaints,” while the Independent Record in Helena, Mont., reports “Library board votes to keep controversial book on hand,” and the book is The Joy of Gay Sex.

If you’re looking for an escape from all the election coverage, read your local newspaper.

Gene Mater is a Freedom Form media consultant.

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