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Old 08-06-2007, 12:20 PM   #1
ktinkel
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Default New York Times reduces page size

Today’s New York Times page is 12-inches wide instead of 13.5 inches. According to the small notice to readers, this is the “national newspaper 12-inch standard” size (12 inches wide by 22 inches high).

I suppose readers should not mind. It isn’t much of a change. But it is in the wrong direction.

The notice says: “The move cuts newsprint expenses.” I guess so — each page is now about 11% smaller in area.

It also says they have made design tweaks to “preserve the look and texture of The Times, with all existing features and sections and somewhat fewer words per page.”

Quite a few fewer words in some places. The front page now has six 10.5-pica columns (compared to six 12-pica columns last week). That is about 12.5% less text than before, and shorter lines are less efficient, so the hit is probably greater than 12.5%.

The Op-Ed page now has five 12.5-pica columns (was six 12-pica columns), down about 13%.

Editorials got wider (about 5% more space). The rest of the editorial page is letters to the editor. These went from three 12-pica columns to two 12.7-pica columns, amounting to a 29% reduction in space (“about a third,” according to the note on the page).

About this, The Times notes: “Don’t worry. We are making up for the lost space in the printed paper by expanding the letters section on our web site, where space is not an issue, and looking for ways to add space for letters on our pages.”

They have just begun a version of the online Times that can be read on a small screen reader (Windows only; subscribers only). I guess they are convinced that they can do well by pushing readers to the web. I am not so sure.

   
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Old 08-06-2007, 03:18 PM   #2
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Our broadsheet daily is doing the same thing from next year, so I presume it's some kind of trend. I can just imagine the mumbo-jumbo wheeled out to push it through. Sigh.

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Old 08-06-2007, 04:18 PM   #3
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Our broadsheet daily is doing the same thing from next year, so I presume it's some kind of trend. I can just imagine the mumbo-jumbo wheeled out to push it through. Sigh.
Sigh indeed.

I gather that those of us who still read and follow the news are the last. Ask anyone in advertising or media studies: “No one reads” any more. “No one watches[listens to] the news” any more.

How do they make decisions, then? How do they know what jobs to pursue? What candidates or issues to vote for?

Sigh indeed,

   
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Old 08-07-2007, 02:23 AM   #4
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Most of the UK broadsheets went tabloid over the last year or so. Only The Telegraph, last bastion of all that England was, remains unbowed.

The Guardian, beloved of the trendy middle-classes and media darlings, bucked the trend by going to a "Berliner" size, which is halfway between broadsheet and tabloid. The re-design is quite good, with a few reservations, though it looks like it been designed.

The Independent's design on a tabloid page is horrible - it looks like they just shrunk the page. Everything is too small. Mind you, the editorial slant on everything makes it unreadable anyway.

The Times advertising campaign, introducing the new size (after they promised they wouldn't do away with the broadsheet) suggested that it would be easier to read on a crowded Tube train!
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Old 08-07-2007, 04:17 AM   #5
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“No one reads” any more. “No one watches[listens to] the news” any more.

How do they make decisions, then? How do they know what jobs to pursue? What candidates or issues to vote for?
But Kathleen, it's not news anymore. It's propaganda. Journalists are propaganda ministers. People would read or watch again, if it went back to news -- but that isn't going to happen.

I define issues. Then, I hunt down the information. I use many sources, but I always assess the bias involved. I don't see how there is any other way, if the truth matters to someone.

The newspapers and broadcasts did it to themselves. It was suicide, but what they dearly wanted. And it's not just the news anymore, but the disregard for objectivity has infested everything or is beginning to.

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Old 08-07-2007, 05:57 AM   #6
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The New York Times redo is probably similar to the Berliner size. And they too pointed out it would be easier to read on the subway (but every New Yorker knows how to fold any paper down to readable size for the train, so pfffft to that).

Our tabloids have been that size forever. I don’t read any these days (I used to read the Village Voice and the SoHo News, but that was decades ago). They all tend to look kind of clunky — probably because the page proportions are so awkward.

And they are rarely stitched, so trying to read them on a train is murder, with pages falling out, getting folded cock-eyed, and worse. And they always seem inkier than the full-size papers, so your hands get all grimy. Oh, well — good thing I don’t read any!

   
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Old 08-07-2007, 06:07 AM   #7
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I hate to concede that point, but there is some truth in it. The NYT is somewhat better than others, with its reader ombudsman and other attempts to avoid the errors it made repeatedly a few years ago. And it is still family-owned, so it is in a better position to control its future than the huge enterprises.

As for objectivity, it is a goal for decent journalists and publishers, not necessarily an achievement. We are all subjective. Like you, I try to figure out where a writer is coming from and respond accordingly, but that has always been a wise thing to do, not just today.

   
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Old 08-07-2007, 07:48 AM   #8
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It seems blogs are becoming more and more popular and more significant. I'm surprised not to see more posting in the forum on aspects of blogging. Blogs are influencing how people think, and despite their intense biases, they do uncover the shams and quickly.

Also, I think forum debates are very significant -- especially in areas like constitutional interpretation, or exposing games that scholars play. The intellectual elites can't promote the games they used to.

I would guess that publishing will concentrate on these areas more as time goes on. I saw the presidential candidates attended the national bloggers convention this year. But it does appear that newspapers and television are not going to give up their attitude, and that will just make the internet all the more significant.

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Old 08-07-2007, 11:54 AM   #9
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Ah yes, blogging. We live in an age where opinion is everything.
I love reading the BBC News website's "Have Your Say" pages. More ill-informed, un-thought out, dangerous opinions you'll not find.

The only hope for publishing as a business is in lending authority to a work.

If a company has a reputation that its works are well-considered, factually accurate, well-designed and with high production values - then it will survive. If you do anything less than this, your output is worth no more than Joe Shmoe who is putting his rants out on a daily blog.

"Intellectual elites playing games" -- what could be worse? Oh, hang on, I know....
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Old 08-07-2007, 01:19 PM   #10
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Ah yes, blogging. We live in an age where opinion is everything.
But the bloggers put the pressure on...or just independent websites do. It’s difficult to give examples in a publishing forum, as they involve highly controversial issues, and then we’d be a debate forum. But I know of one highly prestigious British organization (nearly 200 years old, and for more than a century with heavy American and continental involvement), which supports a position for about 90 years now, which the bloggers and independent websites have torn so much apart factually, that it will not stand in near the future, and the reputations will be severely damaged, if not ruined. The opposition for the most part is a lot of nobody, but facts by themselves are an overwhelming force, and now it is harder and harder to suppress and disguise inconvenient details.

Just photos from cell phones on the internet can change a lot how truth is presented -- but such reporting is a recent development. I admit a lot of what is independent is very bad…but the good stuff is still there doing its work.

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