News restrained to a fault over CU

'Nationally advertised disaster' of rabble at game scarcely noticed by Denver daily

Dec. 3, 2005

by David Kopel

If you somehow missed the Colorado-Nebraska football game because you were sleeping off your Thanksgiving celebration, you would still know something had gone terribly wrong as soon as you picked up the Saturday morning Boulder Daily Camera."Dejected, a few ejected" announced the front-page headline. On the front page of the Camera's sports section, columnist Neill Woelk lamented the "disgraceful behavior of CU's students" as a "nationally advertised disaster of epic proportions." Another article in the Sports section led with 12 paragraphs about the CU students who rained bottles and other garbage on the football field near the end of the fourth quarter, forcing officials to halt the game and clear two sections of stands.

But if you relied on the lead story about the game in the Saturday Rocky Mountain News,you would find nothing at all about the nationally televised display by CU's rabble.Newscolumnist Bernie Lincicome mentioned it in a paragraph in his below- the-fold column on Page 1 of the Sports section. Only on Page 14B, as the penultimate item in an article filled with miscellany about the game, did the Newsexplain what some of CU's student "fans" had done.

The day after Thanksgiving, the stock market had a fine day. The Standard & Poor's 500 (a broad index of the 500 major stocks on the New York Stock Exchange) and the Nasdaq both set four- and-a-half-year highs. That the stock market is doing so well - indeed, better than it has done any time since May 2001 - ought to at least have appeared above the fold on the front page of the Business sections.

But instead, the weekend editions of both papers buried the great economic news in the routine daily stocks article deep inside the business section. Neither the Saturday Newsnor The Sunday Denver Posteven mentioned the highs in the headlines or subheads of the stock market report.

Canada's ruling Liberal Party lost a no-confidence vote in Parliament earlier this week, so Canadian national elections will be held in late January. The Postpreviewed the no-confidence vote with a Nov. 25 Associated Press article by Rob Gillies that was, literally, Liberal propaganda. The Liberals are considered at serious risk of losing power because of public anger about a corruption scandal. Naturally, they have attempted to delay elections as long as possible, in the hopes that public anger will dissipate.

Gillies echoed the Liberal Party line by touting the Liberals' failed plan to postpone elections until April, "a time that suits Canadians better than the bitterly cold and busy holiday season."

The article offered no evidence for Gillies' silly assertion that Canadians in the month after Christmas would be so cold or busy that they would resent what Gillies called the "inconvenience" of a prompt election. In fact, a massive national poll (18,443 Canadians) conducted by Robbins SCE Research found that only 35 percent of Canadians considered the actual timing of the election important - almost exactly the same as the 32 percent who still support the Liberals.

What's a four-letter word for the Denver newspaper with the best puzzles? The answer is "Post." Monday through Thursday, the Newsruns only a single crossword puzzle - a mid-level puzzle from the NEA. The Postoffers two puzzles every weekday - a tough puzzle from The New York Times,and a much easier one from King Features Syndicate.

Moreover, the Postruns the solutions to each puzzle on the same day that the puzzle appears. So if you're stumped on a couple of clues, you can look up the answer. For the News'crossword, you have to wait until the next day for the solution - inconvenient for people who want to finish their involvement with a puzzle in a single sitting.

Both papers also run a Sudoku puzzle every day. Sudoku is a logic puzzle that was invented in America, became popular in Japan, and turned into a national craze in England earlier this year, after the London Timesbegan running the puzzles.

You solve a Sudoku by filling in a 9-by-9 grid, so that each row and each column contain the numbers 1 through 9, and so that each 3-by-3 grid also contains each of the numerals. Sudoku is easy to learn, but difficult to solve, especially for the challenging puzzles toward the end of the week.

Again, the Postis superior on Mondays through Thursdays because it gives about 25 percent more space for the puzzle. Solving a difficult puzzle requires you to fill in possible answers (called "tics") in each grid box so that a grid box might have the numerals "1, 4, 5, 8, 9" and would still have to leave room to write an actual number for the box, once you've figured out the number through deductive reasoning. It's easier to write and read the little tics on the bigger boxes that the Postsupplies.

The Newsdoes deserve credit for upgrading its Friday puzzle section recently - with a second crossword puzzle and with ample space for the Sudoku. So, puzzlewise, the Friday/Saturday Newsearns a tie with the Friday/Sunday Post.

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