Here Comes the Pope!


One thing that’s apparent when you glance at the front page of today’s tabloids is that the Daily News is considering this papal visit a much bigger deal than the Post is. Both papers have put Benedict XVI on the front page the past few days, but the inside pages are where you see the different points of view. The Post is treating this as a pretty big news story: we get a schedule of where the pontiff will be the next few days, a short article on the pope’s encounter yesterday with survivors of sex abuse by priests and an article giving the rundown of Benedict’s day in Washington, D.C. and previewing his time in New York City.

The Daily News, meanwhile is treating the visit as a huge event, delving into every crack and crevice for an angle on covering this story. We have the schedules and recaps of yesterday’s events, but there are also numerous short pieces on anything and everything related to the pope’s visit. The News introduces us to the Rev. Timothy Hertin, an Air Force chaplain who was in attendance at the pope’s mass in Nationals Park Stadium in D.C., and we get to see him yukking it up in the outfield in a photo of Hertin pretending to swing a bat. Television Chef Lidia Bastianich is briefly profiled. She’ll be cooking for Benedict over the next few days, but the Vatican has asked that she not reveal the exact menu. Bastianich hints that striped bass may be the fish served tonight.

The News has pieces on the differences in security details from Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI and how the pontiff will be sleeping in style in an E. 72nd Street townhouse. (Don’t expect any impromptu jaunts up Fifth Avenue, as John Paul II did in 1995. Security is much tighter these days.) The coverage is, for lack of a better word, exhausting.

So, what’s the difference between a “big news story” and a “huge event”? Going by the pope’s visit, I’d say the number of infographics and the number of “hometown connection” stories. There’s something cursory about the Post‘s coverage, while the News has all kinds of detail to draw all kinds of readers in.