Today's Papers

Talk of the Brown

Dow Corning Corporation’s $3.2 billion settlement with 170,000 women for illnesses caused by the company’s breast implants leads at all papers except the Wall Street Journal, which presumably went to press too early to cover it. The average dividend for each claimant will amount to about $31,000, with some women eligible for up to $250,000 (USA Today) and $300,000 (Los Angeles Times). Nonetheless, as all the papers point out, studies have been inconclusive on the degree to which the implants are linked to sickness. The settlement ends a legal struggle that has gone on for over six years, but individual women can still pursue their claims for damages of up to $550,000. The settlement also pulls Dow Corning out of Chapter 11 bankruptcy, which the company entered in 1995 when faced with 19,000 implant lawsuits. Production of the offending implants ceased in 1992.

Nigeria watch: All papers’ front pages (except for the Washington Post, which links a front-page photo to an inside story), cover the riots in the capital of Lagos and several towns, which were sparked by the Tuesday death of opposition leader Moshood Abiola and by military leader Abubakar’s Wednesday dissolution of his Cabinet. Rioters suspect the government of killing Abiola, and close to 20 people have died already. In response, Nigeria’s military leader appealed for calm, and has promised that two U.S. doctors will be brought in to perform a fair autopsy for Abiola. An inside NYT story reports that U.S. policy hinges on the outcome of the autopsy.

Star editor Tina Brown’s resignation from the New Yorker receives front-page play at all papers. The URI=/info/contents/contents.html”>New York Times goes with a two-column headline and a photo of Brown, with two additional articles inside accompanied by a timeline of the magazine’s history. Brown was offered a five-year contract renewal, but declined, opting instead to start a new monthly magazine in partnership with the film company Miramax. The new glossy would serve as a launching pad for articles that could later be turned into films or television shows. Congratulations go to Howard Kurtz of the WP: His article (in the Style section) was the only one at all five papers not to use the words “venerated” or “venerable” to describe the New Yorker.

The WSJ’s A-head column claims that dots are replacing hyphens as the new grammatical vogue. Despite the egregious lead pun (“The punctuation world is entering a new period”), the story insightfully observes that dots are leaking from cyberspace addresses into traditionally hyphenated items such as telephone numbers. Among the arguments for boarding the dot-wagon: dots take less space than hyphens, and the period key is easier to hit on the keyboard. T.P. applauds the new trend.