Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Left Behind

Some days you look at the front page story selection and wonder whether stories were selected at random. But on any given day looking at the front page of a newspaper can tell you alot about what editors think about the news. A story positioned at the top or one with bold type or stories with photos all tell readers what the editors felt were important. Editors are also aware that readers like a mix articles in order to draw in readers with different interests--some local others national. Today, for instance, the Daily News has the following front page story headlines as they appeared from top left to bottom right--I leave it to you to decide if the bicycle story or the new HP/CEO has a greater level of local interest:
  • "Ex-Scout exec is sex suspect"
  • "Inventor's bicycles recovered"
  • "Defeated" (Stanford women's basketball)
  • "Debris project resisted"
  • "Johnnie Cochran Jr., who won acquittal for O.J. Simpson dies at 67 (see story page 9)"
  • "Hewlett-Packard names new president, CEO"
Frequently, stories miss the front page that are none-the-less important. Among those today are the following:
  • "Accused officer on stand"
  • "Court to reconsider Schiavo"
  • "Pope may have to have feeding tube"
  • "Committee releases storm drain donors"
Story selection is a judgement call. Some days are better than others. Today that judgement was extremely poor. The story deemed unworthy of coverage appeared prominently on the front page of the New York Times and details a report commissioned by the United Nations about a multi-billion dollar fraud involving the Secretary General, his son, the head of the UNs Oil For Food Program, shredding of thousands of potentially relevant documents, and persistent sexual abuse by UN personnel. Maybe the editors are right--you wouldn't be interested in that.

This is that report.


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