Wednesday, January 19, 2005
Bad News, Page 1; Good News, Page 7A
The situation could have easily been reversed had the timing been different. If the kidnapping had occurred after the E-N went to press and was old news by the next evening it probably would not have played on Page 1. Likewise, had the release occurred just before deadline it might have been bumped up to the front page. That is just the way the news cycle works and charges of bias are just not accurate in this case.
But let’s just pretend for a minute that you are the editor and you place a higher priority on balancing the news rather than on freshness and reader interest. Which story would you have bumped off of the front page to make room for the story about the bishop being released? Remember that they want to balance the page with stories that appeal to the widest audience, so you can’t just chuck the football feature story and have nothing but hard news. Personally, I could have done without the gratuitous picture of Bush yukking it up at his pre-inaugural festivities, but then you would still need another lead photo for the front page because you can’t just fill the page with stories and have no art. I like the story about the GOP lawmaker calling Bush’s Social Security privatization scheme a dead horse. HaHaHaHa! And then there is the Rice confirmation hearings that surely must stay out front. So that leaves the story about the lege getting ready to ax state college programs or the ACCD bond story, both of which have more interest to local readers than the bishop story.
So what is your choice, Editor Commando?