Today is an interesting day in the newspaper business.
The Washington Post said on its first page: “Yes, it does look different! Beginning today, we are changing the look and the read of our A-section, with additional graphics, better labeling, more diversity in content and a more organized report. Our new look begins on A2.”
The New York Times said on its first page: “To our readers: Look different? Changes to the first section of the newspaper today are explained on Page A2.”
Quite a coincidence, huh?
But that is where the similarities end. The Post it appears is putting more news in its front section, with bolder headlines, and a less regimented design. It does look more appealing. And it is replacing what has, for me, been a wasted page 2, which has basically contained summaries of other articles, and snippets of limited value, and making it a hard news page. Congratulations, Post.
But what in the world is the Times doing? The bottom of its cover page (about 3 inches worth) is now devoted to headlines from the inside. I think that is OK, maybe even a good idea, although some of the choices are questionable, such as a mini-review of a new novel by Colin Harrison, “deadly deals and cheap thrills”. But then…..there is no news on pages A2, A3, A4, A5 or A6!!!!! Page A2 and page A3 have only a summary index of what is elsewhere in the paper, small paragraphs, not to different from what is on the bottom of the first page, highlighting 35 different items. What do they think a reader will do with this? Read the summaries as if they are a web page and pick and choose which pages to go to elsewhere in the paper, rather than turning all the pages? Why on earth would they want that? Then, on page A4, there is only one sentence summaries of 17 items you can find on nytimes.com, although most of them appear to appear in the print version as well, and corrections of earlier errors. Pages A5 and A6 are only ads.
By the time you get to A7, you are tired of turning pages, sure you must have missed something, and ready to start your day.
Too bad. The Times, it is a-changin’.