Being the token foreigner Hack I figured I’d try introducing something with a little international flavor this week, and maybe if y’all like it, in weeks to come.
There’s a lot hitting the news right now, like the Penn State scandal and Occupy Wall Street. I thought it might be interesting to break down how the papers in my area are handling all of the stories, if at all.
From a newspapering perspective, I’m pretty lucky. I’ve got a local weekly, a local daily and my city’s daily and its tabloid counterpart. As far as demographics, my county is one of the largest in Pennsylvania, with about 630,000+ living in it. It’s a big patch to cover and there’s always a lot happening.
I’ll try to work it like this: choose a story I like from each paper, maybe one I don’t like, some notes about layout, circulation, business and whatever else. I’ll post the front pages using the amazing ‘Today’s Front Pages’ feature from Newseum.org.
First up, the two heavy-hitters, the city papers, The Philadelphia Inquirer and The Philadelphia Daily News.
Once competing powerhouses of the US media industry, the two racked up Pulitzers like it was nothing. They still do, but sadly they’ve also been ravaged by poor ownership and some extremely bad business decisions made in the past.
Just yesterday it was announced the two papers would be moving shop from their longstanding building, and upon their move, would share the same newsroom (think The Evening Chronicle and The Journal in Newcastle).
I love these papers for so many different reasons. Firstly, they, and their front pages, could not be any more different.
The Inquirer is a very traditional and hard-line broadsheet.
The Daily News, well, it is everything under the sun these days. It’s crass, funny, poignant, brimming with personality and has a long-standing tradition of being a bit of a troublemaker.
Despite their editorial differences, both papers produce excellent, excellent journalism, and it shows in yesterday’s pages.
Above the fold, The Inquirer ran with the Penn State story and the late-night eviction of Occupy Wall Street.
Below the fold, a really interesting piece about a court case involving a Pennsylvania state representative. The Attorney General’s office is asking the judge to reverse his decision in the DUI case, and then recuse himself from any further developments in the case becuase he and the defendant are Facebook friends.
Despite the headline, the actual story is an incredibly solid piece of journalism, well-sourced and well-written.
The online headline is also a thing of beauty, and long may this sort of stuff continue.
“Crime, radicals, homeless (& poop) tarnish Occupy message”
Onto my local daily, The Bucks County Courier Times.
My mom stopped reading our local paper awhile back. Something about it having too much crime and not enough politics and investigative work. So I snagged today’s copy from my aunt, who still has the paper delivered to her house – mostly because she likes going through the obits to see if anyone she knows has died and when their services are (and if they will clash with the times she goes and cleans the church).
What shocked me immediately about The Courier was the design. It used to be a very traditional and American-style looking broadsheet. Text heavy and typeface you’d find to be synonymous with serious-looking broadsheets and the like.
Well no more of that. They’ve overhauled the design completely – and it looks pretty good. It’s very image heavy and there’s tons of colors splashed about, but it works.
There’s always been a healthy mix of local, city and national news and that hasn’t changed one bit. For yesterday’s front page they picked up a wire story about the Penn State scandal. Everything else was standard local coverage of local councils, features and crime reports.
Lastly, but never leastly, my local weekly, The Bucks County Advance.
The most immediate thing I noticed was how much the paper had changed physically. It was once a broadsheet, now, it’s been shrunken down to fairly small tabloid style paper. The content is still fairly solid and manages to stay relevant, despite being a weekly whose audience are also subscribers to all of the local dailies.
The news in this week’s issue is mixed between various council meetings and features about local Vets celebrating Veterans Day.
One major pull of the paper was, and still very much is, the local high school sports, which features prominently on the back pages.
The thing I liked the most in this week’s issue was how the paper dealt with the Penn State scandal. A lot of adults and kids from my town and county have gone to Penn State for uni, and the university itself isn’t that far.
Obviously its hard for a weekly to keep up on such a fast-paced story, so they’ve actually gone for some pretty basic vox pops, which is actually a really nice touch to bring a local angle to what has now become a national story.
An added bonus is the headline of the opinion column below the vox pops.
“When evil bagels attack, oh my ouch!”
So if it pleases you, let me know what you think of this feature idea! Would it work better maybe featuring one paper each post? What would you like to know more about? See more of? Thoughts on the papers themselves?
Tweet us @wannabehacks and let us know!
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