Today's Papers

Hip Journalism

The Dow’s bounce back above 8000 leads at USA Today. At the Washington Post, it’s the global warming summit in Kyoto. The New York Times goes with the Federal Trade Commission’s 4-0 decision to abandon a plan to weaken the meaning of the “Made in USA” label. And the Los Angeles Times leads with California’s endorsement of throwback math standards for public school students that emphasize–get this–correct answers and lots of practice and discourage reliance on calculators.

The NYT lead reports that the FTC had been considering dropping the threshold for “Made in USA” from the current interpretation of 98 percent of an item’s value down to as low as 75 percent. Big businesses that import a lot of components, explains the paper, would have benefited at the expense of smaller companies that do not. (The automobile, textile, wool and fur industries are subject to separate requirements and are not covered by the decision.) The Times says the FTC switch is, like the stalling of fast track, a big victory for, and the result of political pressure from, organized labor. The Wall Street Journal, which flags the story in its front-page news box, explains that companies can still continue to make qualified U.S.-origin claims, such as “80% Made in USA.” (Question for William Safire: Isn’t “80% Made in USA” like “80% Born in USA”? Either it’s made here or not, right?)

The headline writers at the WP couldn’t have been too disappointed about the dissension in Kyoto. This way, they got to write “U.S. Greeted Coolly at Climate Summit.” The paper reports that at the opening session, the U.S. delegate reiterated the Clinton administration’s position of getting back to 1990 greenhouse gas levels by 2010 and called the more stringent proposals favored by European countries unrealistic or ineffective. In part as a response to worldwide criticism of this position, says the Post, President Clinton announced, after months of refusing to have a high-level presence at the meetings, that he is sending Al Gore to Kyoto to help forge an international greenhouse gas agreement. The thumbnail explanation of global warming the Post provides in its lead coverage is odd: the only dangerous effect of warming it mentions by name is the possible spread of malaria to colder climates, nothing about another Ice Age.

On its front above the fold, the LAT reports that a survey of 347 cities by the U.S. Conference of Mayors indicates that the recent increased imposition of anti-truancy and juvenile curfew statutes correlates with a drop in the juvenile crime rate. The story goes on to mention that the Los Angeles Police Department credits L.A.’s 1996 anti-truancy law with a 20 to 45 percent drop in daytime burglaries, shoplifting and car break-ins (unfortunately, no word from the LAT about why the wide stat parameters here).

The above story sits without comment right next to one slugged “Student Opens Fire on Prayer Group, Kills 2.”

But at least the LAT puts that school shooting on the front page. (As does USAT. The NYT front has a picture only.) The WP does not–but it does run a column one top front story, accompanied by not one, but three pictures, about the Washington Redskins quarterback breaking his hip. (Breaking news?)

James Glassman’s WP column quotes this take from computer scientist David Gelertner on the government’s goal of wiring the nation’s schoolrooms to the Internet: “Children need Internet access the way they need subsidized bus service to the nearest mall.”

News you can lose. The WP runs the following correction: “A Sunday Arts story incorrectly reported that Pietro di Cristoforo di Pietro Vannucci, the Renaissance painter known as Perugino (“the one from Perugia”), was born in Perugia. He was born 27 miles away in Castello della Pieve, now called Citta della Pieve, a town that was under the suzerainty of Perugia.”