As I noted previously, Chicago is the rare burg that still has two major newspapers, the Tribune and the Sun-Times. I've always been a Tribune man, although I must admit that I rely almost entirely on the Interest to gather news. I basically pick up the Trib only during baseball season to further my masochistic love of the Cubs, and to do the daily crossword puzzle.
However, even if I'm a Trib fan more in spirit than in the breach, comparing the front pages of both papers has reassured me that for all the Tribune's faults, I'm more than justified being in their corner.
Tribune Front Page, 05/06/05:
Top of page advertises the new array of Friday sections the Tribune has lately introduced. Not news, but an understandable attempt to market themselves. In contrast, the Sun-Times has a banner at the bottom of their front page, pushing a contest in which you can win a vacation.
[Illinois Governor] "Blagojecvich kills contract he defended"
"Till relatives argue over exuming body"
"This Sept 8, NO BEAN FOR YOU" (Story on Toyota renting Chicago's Millinnium for private function)
"Bush opens U.S. Forests"
"Big Smile, but not such a big win for Blair" (Story on the British general elections)
"GM, Ford bonds are driven to junk yard"
INSIDE: Small pointer section, featuring columnist John Kass' take on mob ties relating to the local Rosemont Casino Hearings, and to a Business section story enitled "Nicor [gas company] sued over fee".
The two pictures on the cover feature Tony Blair (the British elections) and Jesse Jackson (the Emmett Till exumation).
That's a pretty decent mix of hard news stories, ranging from international to national to state to city. Not one of them is fluff.
Now let's contrast that with the Sun-Times front page [The Sun-Times isn't a full-sized paper like the Tribune, so you don't get actually stories on the front page, just headlines and subheads]:
There's two hard news headlines, although the first is a bit flamboyant: "POLICE COMMISSIONER STOLE FROM HERO COPS". Then there's "[Jesse] Jackson, [Congressman Bobby] Rush still at odds [on the Emmett Till exumation].
Those are tucked off to the right hand side of the front page, along with the somewhat less hard-newsy: "Feds probe zoo camel death" and "Hitless Wonders", a headline about the surging Chicago White Sox. The latter is accompanied by a small photo of Sox player Shingo Takatsu.
However, the first thing you see when glancing at the paper is the column-spanning banner at the top of the page, headlined "MOVIES-PA-LOOZA Stars return to the box office" To the right of this assertion (which is hilarious exagerated) are thumbnail photos of said 'stars' captioned of "Paris in ‘Wax’", "Ludacris in ‘Crash’" and "Orlando in Kingdom". Yeah, that's some huuuge star power there. Also, this marks the second Friday in a row that a picture of Paris Hilton has adorned the front page of the Sun-Times.
Finally, taking up a good 40% of the front page is a color picture of Angelina Jolie in a hooded robe as she tours Pakistan. The headline over this reads ": Is Brad in Pakistan, too?" The subhead then notes: "No word yet on whether her rumored new beau, Brad Pitt, came along on the four-day trip."
Again, I have to think the Tribune is worth that extra 15 cents.