I’ve already written about the new design of The Guardian, and came across as pretty positive about it. Indeed, I am pretty positive about its design, as a whole. There is, though, one thing that’s a bit rubbish. The Thursday Technology section.
The old Thursday science and technology section was never wonderful. Apart from the wonderful Bad Science column, which, moved to Saturdays, survives, the science pages were always a bit spotty. There would usually be one good story, and I liked the format of pages 2 and 3,* but a lot of the content seemed to be lifted from Nature and New Scientist.** The computing pages weren’t great, but were probably better than what you’d expect from a general newspaper.
Now, though, the science pages (and jobs) seem to have evaporated aside from a single Saturday page. The old computing pages have been transformed into the new Technology section, on Berliner paper rather than tabloid. The problem is, though, the amount of content hasn’t changed; it’s just been stretched to fill the paper, leading to a very thin section. There’s a big front page article – today it was a rather good piece, actually, on learning to be a hacker – but the rest just seems to be games reviews and news about the latest mobile phones.
I’m hoping that it will improve over time. I was hoping that when I saw the first one, and I’m still hoping that it’s going to get better. And, one poor section per week isn’t going to stop me buying the paper. It’s a shame, though, because I’m sure they could be doing far, far better.
* similar, in fact, to the format of pages 2 and 3 in the new G2.
** which also comes out on a Thursday, of course. It took me a few years of reading the Guardian’s “Daedalus” column before I realised it seemed to be inspired by a column of the same name that ran in New Scientist for many years.
As I’ve been an avid Guardian reader for ten years or so – long enough to get very used to it, but not long enough to remember the old 1980s design – then of course I’m full of opinions on their new redesign. Or, at least, I was a week ago. I decided to hold off writing anything until I’d seen a full week of third sections; but now I’ve seen them all the novelty has gone, and I’ve settled back down to just reading the thing again.
The Guardian – sorry, I mean theguardian – hasn’t changed that much. It still has most of the same writers, even if they’ve shuffled round a bit. The additional sections haven’t changed much. It does feel, though, more like a magazine than a newspaper. It’s the combination of colours and fonts that does it; a full-colour newspaper on its own would still look like a newspaper, but there’s something about the fonts that makes me think of weekly trade magazines. The print and the paper is better than it used to be; but you don’t read a newspaper because you like its print quality.
I was slightly disappointed that, for all the talk about radicalism, theguardian backtracked so quickly on dropping Doonesbury. Yes, I like it, even though the jokes were drowned out by the soap opera years ago; however, I can still read it online. Maybe Doonesbury is their one sop to the style-conservatives: “no, we’re not going back to X, but we do listen – look, we brought back Doonesbury!” Personally, I was more disappointed about the death of Pass Notes: it was an old joke, but I still liked it.
I’m not going to stop reading theguardian, and I’m still going to read it on paper, not online. Newspapers change, and I’d think I’d rather have dramatic, sudden change than the slow drip of change you don’t realise. Besides, as I said at the start, now it’s been going for over a week I’m already used to it. The broadsheet Guardian is already history to me.