The Obamacare numbers did not play well in local newspapers

November 14, 2013

The more than 475 newspaper front pages tracked online by the Newseum in Washington, D.C., are hardly monolithic. The stories that editors choose to promote today spanned the spectrum. Front pages led with pieces on local crime, budgets, the weather, board meetings, profiles and court trials.

Many smaller papers made no mention of the health-care exchange sign-up numbers released Wednesday afternoon by the administration. But the program did make the front pages of many of the higher-profile local newspapers–the ones with wider circulation and name recognition. And when the program was mentioned, the publicity was almost always negative. A number of papers led with wire stories and some variation on a theme: “Health-care sign-ups fall short.”

There was some variation, though, even within states. In California, the Sacramento Bee led with the relatively positive “State leads in health sign-ups.” Meanwhile, the San Diego Union Tribune’s front page sported a giant “106,185?” which is the total number of people who have so far signed up for the program. The Oakland Tribune saw the bright side, sort of. It led with a bold headline reading “Health law’s Golden lining?” seeing good news for California in an “otherwise disappointing” report.

Here’s a look at ten frontpages in which the program suffered a publicity hit today, courtesy of the Newseum.

Nebraska


Colorado


South Carolina


Alabama


Florida


Iowa


Mississippi


New Hampshire


Texas


Utah


Niraj Chokshi reports for GovBeat, The Post's state and local policy blog.
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Reid Wilson · November 14, 2013