You’d think that Hostess bakeries announcing it would shut down in response to a strike was the end of the world or something, from the play it got Friday in the digital media and today on front pages around the country.
Come on. Twinkies will be back on shelves in no time. Someone will buy the Twinkie trademark.
Here’s a look at today’s Twinkie, Ho Ho and Wonder Bread front pages…
WYOMING TRIBUNE EAGLE
This strikes me as a great way to play this story: Push the AP file art that everybody had to the skybox and pair it with a catchy headline.
Fall River, Mass.
Many papers focused on the rush at local stores Friday morning as soon as the news broke. Some paired local pictures of shoppers or empty shelves with cute headlines. Some added an AP file photo of a pack of Twinkies.
The folks in Fall River, Mass., did all three.
The local picture is by staffer Marc Monroe Dion.
The Loveland, Colo., paper reversed the story out of black for extra-strength visual impact.
The little pic — of a local man leaving a bakery empty-handed — is by staffer Craig Young.
Photographer Karl Gehring of the Denver Post found a worker at a Hostess bakery handout out boxes of products to folks standing in line…
…and downplayed the AP art, along with a helpful list of all the brands Hostess makes. The story wasn’t just about Twinkies, y’know.
Photographer Cathy Zuraw found a shop that still had Hostess products on the shelves. For a few minutes, at least.
The shelves in Detroit were mostly empty.
That picture is by News staffer Tony Briscoe.
SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE
San Francisco, Calif.
The not-so-small woman on the left of this front-page photo — carrying bags full of Hostess snack products — seems ripe for a caption contest.
The picture is by Chronicle staffer Mike Kepka.
SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS
San Jose, Calif.
The Merc found a family buying snacks by the caseful.
Note the meaty fact box at lower right of that package. The photo is by staffer Laura A. Oda.
Naturally, the Mercury News‘ sister papers followed in suit.
On the left is the Oakland Tribune, circulation 52,459. On the right is the Contra Costa Times, circulation 67,464.
New London, Conn.
By now, you’re probably growing pretty tired of photos of folks buying up all the Hostess inventory. So how about a different twist? Sean D. Elliott of the Day of New London, Conn., came back with this terrific shot of Hostess lovers shooting souvenir photos of “Mr. Twinkie” on the side of a local store.
And the Kennebec Journal of Augusta, Maine, featured a local shopper photographed by staffer Joe Phelan…
…and paired that picture with a headline that mentioned the strike. Which brings me to my next group of pages.
FOCUSING ON THE BUSINESS ANGLE
As you might can tell by my comments, I wasn’t too crazy about these front-page centerpieces that focused on the frenzy created by customers rushing to the store. However, I did like pages that kept the focus on who the real victims were: The hardworking employees of Hostess that suddenly found themselves without jobs.
I think this was the page that disappointed me the most. The Alexandria paper played up the strike angle with its art, headline and deck.
Yet, news came out yesterday that while Hostess pleaded poverty to employees, it boosted executive salaries and tripled the pay of its CEO — even as it laid the groundwork for declaring bankruptcy and shutting its doors.
I’m not seeing those facts mentioned in any of the headlines here. I’m going to have to call bullshit on Alexandria for a very unbalanced report.
The AP photo of workers on the picket line in Maine is by Robert F. Bukaty of the Associated Press.
Carson City, Nev.
The Carson City, Nev., paper focused on the local outlet that will close.
The picture is by staffer John Barrette.
The design here seems a little laid back, but I like the way the small paper in Meriden, Conn., focused on local workers.
The pictures are by staffer Dave Zajac.
The Cincinnati paper built page one around a picture of local Hostess employees who may very well be saying goodbye for the last time.
The photo is by staffer Leigh Taylor.
NEWS & OBSERVER
I like the focus here — courtesy of the News & Obsever‘s Chuck Liddy — on this bread plant in Rocky Mount, N.C.
This makes the point, I think, that it’s not just Twinkies and Ho Hos that are going away. It’s also Merita bread and a number of other products.
PORTLAND PRESS HERALD
With a phrase like “ovens to go cold,” the Press Herald may have struck the most evocative headline of the day.
The local pictures are by staffer Gregory Rec.
KANSAS CITY STAR
Kansas City, Mo.
This headline also strikes me as a grand way to tell the story.
President Barack Obama has his eye on that Twinkie.
The paper in Lakeland, Fla., also focused on the business angle, pairing that with a closeup of Twinkies shot by staffer Calvin Knight at a local store that wasn’t sold out quite yet.
TWO REALLY INTERESTING ANGLES
Now, these are important. So stay with me…
CHATTANOOGA TIMES FREE PRESS
The paper in Chattanooga, the paper correctly used a bit of a qualifier in its deck — the company blamed the strike for the layoffs.
Even better, the Times Free Press found a great sidebar in a local bakery that’s going to increase production of snack foods.
How come no one else put a story like this out on page one?
The pictures were handout art from the respective companies.
DEMOCRAT AND CHRONICLE
And the paper in Rochester, N.Y., pushed inside all its news about Hostess and any local run on Twinkies. Instead, the front-page centerpiece focuses on a local joint what sells their own version of the same treat.
The pictures of high-class Twinkies on a plate are by staffer Calvin Knight.
HAVING SOME FUN WITH THE STORY
And, of course, lots of papers elected to simply have some fun. Given how overblown the story seemed to be — the company pleading poverty while handing out raises to its executives, the frenzy at local stores, Twinkies and Ho Hos selling for hundreds of dollars on eBay — this might have been the best approach of all.
“That’s the way the cookie crumbles,” says the Wichita paper.
The photos of folks buying out a local shop are by staffer Bo Rader.
AKRON BEACON JOURNAL
The Akron paper found a headline that played off the idea of a full belly.
Notice the column that also ran on the front.
The photo of local shoppers is by Phil Masturzo.
The folks in South Carolina couldn’t resist a Ho Ho pun…
…despite the lead art being that AP picture of Twinkies.
The editors in Allentown, Pa., showed a particularly wicked sense of genius by invoking the day’s other hot story, the opening of the new Twilight movie.
Instead of AP art of a Twinkie, Allentown shelled out the extra bucks for Getty art. Now, that’s classy.
Los Angeles, Calif.
My friends at the L.A. Daily News gave me my biggest belly laugh of the day with this headline.
Note the same Getty art that Allentown used.
Naturally, the Daily News‘ sister papers used the same centerpiece.
On the left is the Press-Telegram of Long Beach, circulation 82,556. On the right is the Daily Breeze of Torrance, circulation 75,352.
TYLER MORNING TELEGRAPH
The folks in Tyler, Texas, had exactly the same idea, but went with the AP broken Twinkie photo.
JOURNAL & COURIER
But the day’s funniest intentionally overblown Twinkie obit coverage was this illustrated headstone afront the Journal & Courier of Lafayette, Ind.
If the creator of this centerpiece would please identify him or herself, I’d be much obliged.
UPDATE: Saturday, 10:30 p.m.
I’m told the designer was Spencer Holladay. Genius indeed.
All of these front pages are from the Newseum. Of course.