Monday, September 12, 2005

last words on the Guardian...

Still totally perplexed by the lack of Doonesbury in the paper, but calming down about it a bit now. At least it's available online. Of the rest of the issues in the paper, I'm a lot more relaxed - Passnotes had kind of run out of steam (quite unlike Doonesbury, which... OK, I'll stop) and I never read Smallweed much. The main paper does, I think, suffer in a small way from the reduction of size, especially when fairly innocuous articles end up filling an entire page. But this is made up for by the sheer pleasure of that turning that narrower page.

Comments and Analysis, much criticised by the Labour right in recent years, has retitled itself 'Comments and Debate', perhaps appropriately given that they have chosen to give Madeline Bunting first go at the main piece, although she does a decent enough job of it (as she normally does, despite the shrill protests of the warbloggers). I didn't see a space laid out for the Diary, which is a bit concerning, but I don't think it appears on Mondays so hopefully that's not an issue.

The promised daily science page does not seem to have materialised, nor has the recently AWOL Editor page, although they've carried over the 'review of reviews' feature to G2, which is a good move and hopefully something they'll continue with some of the other features. The TV column in the smaller section is retained and expanded but no sign of Nancy Banks Smith in the broadsheet, disturbingly. Sorry, in the Berliner, I mean...

G2 itself is an odd, dinky little pamphlet now. In terms of content, it performs ably enough, with a slight but strong comment piece from Simon Schama and a decent interview with Oona King, who doesn't seem to hold a grudge that the Guardian gave George Galloway significant column inches to persue his agenda in the run up to the election. There's nothing by Laura Barton, Tanya Gold or Lucy Mangan today, so provided their input has not been curtailed it should improve over the week as their contributions appear. Leo Hickman's graphic piece is a nice option although I always fail somehow to read this kind of statistical feature.

Size wise, I find it a bit small and gimmicky, but I'll probably get used to it. It does make me feel like a giant reading it, though, which I like. The TV listings, condensed and thorough, make my head spin a bit, but I expect I'll get used to - and probably eventually prefer - them, although I'd instinctively prefer the back page.

My fingers are a bit inky after reading, mind - anyone else getting that?

Lots of colour throughout, obviously; it's nice to have, but I don't really share the excitement. Until newspapers can reproduce photographs cleanly, I don't care whether they do so in colour or not, really.

So - overall a hesitant thumbs up; it's certainly a pleasure to read a paper where so much thought has been put into the reading experience, and the content is still, as you would expect, streets ahead of that available in its competitors.

No links to articles provided today, as you really do need to go and pick up a copy... Although now I think about it, did I mention that Doonesbury has bee[snip].

1 comment:

Dr. Sloan said...

Some of the page layouts are a bit forced into shape...in general they seemed to have sacrificed the superb but dated looking old layout for an appealingly clean and modern visual crispness.

I think the main section has fared better than G2, though. Half the time the title of the page in G2 doesn't stand out, especially the vertical ones. It makes you feel lost inside the section without a compass.

Still, as you say, a hesitant thumbs up. And I'm sure the science page is on its way.