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May 24th, 2007


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09:35 am - it's headline time!
Well, now that Boston's apparently a four-newspaper town, it's interesting to see which stories each plays up the loudest on their front page during a typical news day when nothing big is happening, like cartoon aliens taking over or something. Here's a summary of the front pages of our Four. The first headline is the largest or wordiest one, first to be noticed if you do things like read words. The second headline listed is the headline, or the blurb if that's all it is, for the largest picture on the front page, which calls out to people what like pretty colors or ladies with boobs. Let's see! The links, by the way, go to the current print edition of each paper online, though I can't guarantee they'll be fresh by May 25. Also, the Metro and BostonNOW!1 present theirs in PDF format, just FYI.



The Glob
Treasurer looks to beat tribe with casino deal
State Treasurer Timothy P. Cahill is to unveil a plan today to beat the Mashpee Wampanoags into the casino business...

Boston officer shot
In another burst of city violence, a Boston police officer and an alleged gang member were wounded in an exchange of gunfire last night near an elementary school in Dorchester, authorities said...
Pretty cut-and-dry here. If you try to put any kind of analysis on this front page, you can surmise that Glob readers love their business news and their local news. The news that an officer got shot is troublesome, and the Glob runs most of a full story on it right on the front page. Then there's a lot of other words or something about other things if you want to, like, read. Traditional print setup, nothing fancy or new about it.
The Herald
HUB COP SHOT BY THUG
"He's been hit!" Page 7
Gang-unit officer wounded

Blond ambition
(picture of Gwen Stefani goes here with some blurb about her upcoming Tweeter Center concert)
Gwen's on the left, lookin all blond in a crazy prison stripe outfit and showin a bit of leg. On the right are those five large, monosyllabic words and the Reader's Digest-esque quote tease next to it. There's your choice, Boston! If you don't care about pretty ladies, you can have a big bold stark reminder of gang violence instead with the "thug" implication already in place, helping to delineate any possible gray areas we may be wandering in over who was the good guy and who was the bad guy here.

Additionally, the Herald thinks enough to mention on the front page that the cop was only wounded, which is a nice gesture. Of course, if the policeman been killed in the line of duty, the Herald would've made sure to let us know. Gwen probably would've been bumped from Page 1 if that were the case and the headline would have been bigger. COP MANS GETS DEAD SHOT BY MEAN GANG THUG
Now let's take a look at Boston's free fishwraps:

The Metro
One of 3 abducted soldiers' bodies found
Iraqi police dragged a body from the Euphrates River yesterday...

They saw Sparks 17-year-old wins 'American Idol'
(big picture of American Idol winner takes up most of the front page)
As you can see, the Metro's pretty good at continually keeping us all abreast of our National Story of Concern. Also, it is doing a good job of chronicling the story of the missing soldiers. The Boston cop story, by the way, runs on the left sidebar, but it's definitely not given as much emphasis as the other two.
BostonNOW
Natick maul
Woman, 3 girls attack teen PAGE 06
Oh, look! BostonNOW has hired a New York Post headline writer who promises to make the front page a punnier page to read! Oh ha ha ha! My sides, they have split! It's a maul at the ma-- no, wait, the Natick Mall now wants to be called "The Natick Collection." PUN HAS FAILED, OFFICIALLY! INSERT 1 CREDIT TO CONTINUE.

And in keeping with their "blogger-driven" angle, BostonNOW even accompanies the story with a security video still of what looks like three or four people running around, OBVIOUSLY having a maul of a time. It's a perfect example of what a great idea it is to take blurry video and enlarge it to front-page size. I wonder if the staff includes the same people who email whole vacation photo albums of zillion-megabyte uncompressed bitmap files to their relatives and wonder why they never get any kind words in response.

However, it's interesting to note that the only place I saw the "girl gets attacked at the Natick Mall Collection" story yesterday was at online news outlets, where BostonNOW gets its news when they're not chopping up the AP feed. And even though it's a Metro West story first and foremost, Intar Web news aggregators tend to transcend neighborhood boundaries from time to time, and it's always nice to see what your neighbors are up to. Especially if it takes the heat off of anything stupid happening in your stompin grounds.

On the other hand, BostonNOW was the only paper without any coverage on the cop shooting incident. See into that as you will.


I find it fascinating what each paper considers important enough to run on Page 1 given their ideas of coverage, readership, and the time they go to press every night.

Oh, and on a final note, that BostonNOW contest which promises $1000? It's a daily contest where, if you see your first name mentioned in the paper, you can enter the daily drawing. Yep. That's it. All you have to do is read the paper ("It'll take no more than 20 minutes!" the rules helpfully reassure you) and if you done see yore first name writ inside somewhares, gradulashuns u may win!

I wonder what rules are in place for those of us with first names that also double as verbs, nouns, common adjectives or any combination of such. Would "May Harper" be eligible to win every day a daily calendar of events is published? What if they run a story about plans for a white-collar crew to rob their employer? What if Shaw's ran an ad for ground chuck on sale? Or if a criminal threw himself at the mercy of the court? See where I'm going here? I CAN'T STOP THINKING!!

(8 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments:


[User Picture]
From:triplehdm
Date:May 24th, 2007 02:57 pm (UTC)
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When running the gauntlet of free and not-so-free paper hawkers at North Station, I've found myself wondering why they don't call out the headlines, since those are the only things that are ever different. If i see a hawker calling "Extra Extra Read all about it!" there's a darn good chance i'm gonna buy that paper.
I should just have control over the jobs of the people i see every day, it would make things much more bearable for me.
[User Picture]
From:vanguardcdk
Date:May 24th, 2007 03:10 pm (UTC)
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If you want to look at a recent example of the Freebie Paper Wars, Chicago's RedEye and Red Streak went at it for 3 years before one of them finally kicked the bucket.

As I remember neither one did particularly well. They were also blamed for an increase in paper litter which then led to an increase in subway track fires.
[User Picture]
From:ron_newman
Date:May 24th, 2007 03:12 pm (UTC)
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And each of those was owned by one of Chicago's real dallies, the Tribune and the Sun-Times. (I don't remember which one did which.)
From:dcart
Date:May 24th, 2007 03:53 pm (UTC)
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Out of those four, I think The Herald is the one that leasts deserves the moniker "newspaper". Aigh.
[User Picture]
From:ron_newman
Date:May 24th, 2007 04:42 pm (UTC)
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If you can get by the front page, there's a fair amount of decent reporting inside. The business pages, for instance, report a lot of urban development news that the Globe seems to ignore.
[User Picture]
From:acsumama
Date:May 24th, 2007 04:12 pm (UTC)
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Those of us with highly unusual names should sue BostonNOW.
[User Picture]
From:derspatchel
Date:May 24th, 2007 06:09 pm (UTC)
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If I were writing for them I would be sure to submit as many pieces as possible with your name everywhere. "Of course, as the erudite S. says..." "...measured on the S. Scale of Temperature Fluxuation..."

And you wouldn't hafta split the winnings with me either. Go on out and celebrate!
[User Picture]
From:coolwhitestare
Date:May 24th, 2007 11:21 pm (UTC)

Aha!

(Link)
[ I moved my tidbits over to email. :) ]

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