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Above The Fold: How The News Played

Determining what is newsworthy enough to put on the front page of a newspaper or lead an evening news broadcast is sometimes not an obvious decision. Yesterday's news that members of the former 9/11 Commission had released a final report blasting Congress and the Bush administration for failing to implement reforms that could protect the country from another terrorist attack offers an interesting glimpse into how one story got top billing from some, but not others.

All three networks featured packages on the news, but NBC's "Nightly News" was the only broadcast to lead with the story. ABC's "World News Tonight" and the CBS "Evening News" led with stories about Saddam Hussein's trial. While The Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post and USA Today front-paged their articles on the former 9/11 Commission's report, The New York Times -- which so often seems to set the pace for how news plays -- put the story on page A22.

What do you think? How much does placement of this story influence how news audiences react to it? If all three networks carried the story, does it matter where in the broadcast it actually appeared?

UPDATE: Washington Post national political reporter Tom Edsall is puzzled about The New York Times' placement of the 9/11 Commission story, he says in today's online chat, notes Romenesko. Says Edsall, "Insofar as the press drives a story, that will diminish public reaction."