Tuesday, January 17, 2012

A Review - The Guardian

Many years ago, on an old blog, I reviewed the new look Guardian shortly after it changed to its Berliner size. I seem to recall I was ambivalent about it. I also got the impression that parts of the paper had become the sole responsibility of Tim Dowling and Lucy Mangan - two journalists whose names seemed to be embedded on just about every page. Both are still there as the paper underwent another facelift, this time through economic demands rather than aesthetics.

Gone since last year are the marginalised supplements - Media, Society, Education, which were preceded by the old IT and Technology section. Only the Music and Film pull out survived and apparently it still survives, despite the demise of the Sports section, which The Guardian has now rejoined the rank and file and puts its sport at the back of the main section. G2 remains - ever present.

There has been a subtle redesign of the page layouts, tweaks with fonts and sizes and subtle changes that only a trained eye would spot - which is probably what Alan Rusbridger wanted. Things have been dropped; columns condensed and it sort of just feels wrong. The Guardian, because of costs, has had to lose its relative uniqueness and now feels like a daunting task to tackle it in the morning than ever before.

There is nothing wrong with the journalism; 50% of the stuff in it is never even looked at unless it's a sunny and warm day and I have nothing better to do than sit in the garden and digest everything. Arguably it's easier on the eye now, but that could just be the newness of it in my eyes.

From what I've heard, there will still be a film and music section on a Friday, but bigger and expanded - woo and indeed hoo; like The Guardian's Saturday Review section, it can be up its own arse more often than not. The sports section will be there on a Monday (and possibly a Saturday) and I have no idea what the usually, imho, boring Saturday edition will bring and frankly I don't care, because sometimes I wonder why I even bother with a daily paper.

The new look Guardian is essentially the same beast as the old look and the now very old broadsheet version; sometimes it's too dry; sometimes it tries too hard and sometimes it gets things just right. It has writers who I'm not partial to and columns I find pointless and uninteresting. Its analysis is second to none and very unbiased and that's probably the reason I still read it in paper form - you can only really read a newspaper (or a book) on the bog!

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