Today is a huge day in the UK — Scotland is voting on whether it should remain part of the United Kingdom or break away to form a separate country.
It would be a completely separate country — much like most of Ireland is. But it would keep Queen Elizabeth as its monarch and it also wishes to keep the pound sterling as its currency.
Let’s look at how papers in the UK are covering today’s vote…
The Scotsman of Edinburgh used a great headline today but kind of wimped out with its lead photo.
A man placing polling signs? Really?
Average daily circulation for the Scotsman is 28,500.
The Herald of Glasgow — circulation 37,728 — also used a nice headline and went with an inspiring — but purely illustrative — picture of a man looking off into the mist of a distant Loch.
I was surprised at English papers. Neither the Sun nor the Daily Mail made a big deal today about the vote, so I didn’t bother to collect them. The Daily Express of London — circulation 488,246 — used a huge headline today, but under a gigantic skybox featuring a circulation-boosting promotion.
Personally, I’d think the news of the day would drive circulation. But perhaps not.
The Times of London, on the other hand, used a gorgeous picture of the UK Union Jack for a wonderful poster front today.
Now, see? That’s more like what I expected to see. What’s more: This is just the front part of a wraparound cover.
Ont the back are the lyrics to Auld Lang Syne.
On its actual front page, the Times ran a somewhat routine headline and lead photo.
Downpage is an editorial advocating a “no” vote.
Average daily circulation for the Times is 394,448.
The Times was just one paper that built its display around a flag motif today. The free Metro papers of England went with a picture of the Union Jack and the Scottish flag on a flagpole but also managed to find a clever headline to pair with it.
The Independent of London used a much more dramatic picture of flags and came up with perhaps the most clever headline of all.
Average daily circulation for the Independent is 63,907.
The Independent‘s i — circulation 292,801 — didn’t do nearly as nicely as its sister paper.
The Daily Mirror of London photoshopped the cross of St. Andrews out of the Union Jack for this morning’s lead art.
Average daily circulation for the Mirror is 962,670.
The Daily Telegraph built its front around what appeared to be a picture taken at the same time as the Daily Mirror‘s.
Average daily circulation for the London Telegraph is 523,048.
My favorite flag-themed front page of the day, however, was this one by the Glasgow version of the Daily Mail.
Now, that’s outstanding. And powerful.
The Daily Mail circulates 113,771 papers in Scotland.
Metro publishes two editions in Scotland: Glasgow and Edinburgh. Those papers today used page one to urge citizens to the polls.
This is important, because in 1979, Scotland voted on whether or not to create its own Parliament. The “yes” side got 52 percent of the vote, but the decision didn’t stick because not enough people voted. In the fallout afterwards, the UK elected a new prime minister: Margaret Thatcher.
I doubt a low turnout will be an issue today. But still, it’s an interesting approach.
The Daily Record of Glasgow — circulation 253,500 — also urged citizens to vote today on the cover that wrapped around its daily edition.
Take note of the list of inside pages across the bottom. That doesn’t seem well thought-out, does it?
Meanwhile, the actual front page of the paper today showed the very latest poll numbers — this referendum is simply too close to call.
The Glasgow version of the Sun used its front page today for a very interesting conceptual piece illustrating the importance of today’s vote.
Naturally, there were folks out there who had a little fun with this today.
The Sun circulates 340,000 papers in Scotland.
But my favorite treatment of the day was the huge satellite photo the Guardian used today.
Average daily circulation for the London-based Guardian is 185,313
For a truly great look at today’s UK front pages, though, make sure you check out Peter Sands‘ blog.
UPDATE: 9:20 a.m. PDT
In addition, my Focus page today was on Scottish independence. This was aimed at folks here who might not have been keeping up with all the issues involved.
Click for a much larger — and, hopefully, readable — look:
The picture is by the New York Times‘ Andrew Testa of a rail line that runs from England to Scotland. I played off that picture — both in theme and with color — for the rest of my page.
Polls close tonight at 10 p.m. local time. That’s 5 p.m. EDT and 2 pm here on the west coast. I’m not sure when we’ll know results.