Years ago, in another lifetime, I worked as an editor at our local newspaper, The Florida Times-Union. Part of my responsibility was to recommend the front, or pick the stories best suited for A-1.
At the time, local newspapers were beginning their circulation contractions - newspaper sales were not growing as fast as the communities in which they were located. So as editors were likely to do, they began naval scratching exercises, read research, created task forces.
The early consensus was readers were losing interest in national and international news. If it wasn't local news, local readers wouldn't read it. That began the erosion of reporting on national and international news that continues in local papers, albeit for more controversial reasons.
Ironically, the term of art for local news only was "Afghanistanism." Local readers could give a whit about what happens in Afghanistan.
Yesterday, hundreds of thousands of Iraqis quietly went to the polls to cast votes for 440 seats in the Parliament. Although there will be problems uncovered, it was still an historic election.
With so many sons, daughters, spouses, friends, relatives overseas, Iraq and Afghanistan are significant local stories. Jacksonville is a Navy town. The Florida Times-Union is headquartered in St. Augustine.
So let's see what the front page of my local paper looks like:
Lede story: Nursing home rating system doesn't tell the whole story (good enterprise story)
Second lede: A "Bullet" shoots into history (Bob Hayes, a former Dallas Cowboy superstar and once known as the world's fastest man, makes the NFL Hall of Fame. He grew up in Jacksonville and died here a few years back)
Below the fold: Humbled heart leads servant to give to children (a well-deserved story about Pam Paul, who has tirelessly worked for Jacksonville's children for decades)
Banner refers: Upset in the Cards?, Sports C-1
Halftime predictions, Life E-1
Grow your water wings, Business D-1
Who was that guy? Mark Woods B-1
A hidden tax no more, Insight A-15
The Iraqi elections? A-13, no front page presence.
How did your local paper do?