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The New Guardian

9.13.2005

Well, I got my hands on yesterdays one and i am in a bit of confusion over what i think of it. Those over at forum.politics.ie are equally confused though some simply dislike the paper, fair enough says I.
My own reaction to the new paper is certainly positive regarding the size. I was rading it on a bus yesterday and for the first time managed not to elbow that frail old lady sitting beside me, thus sending her into fits of coughing.
So on size, yeah somewhere between a tabloid and a broadsheet are ok, berliner seems to work with me and for Guardian readers, there is that feeling of uniqueness that the paper likes to cover itself in.
The inserts (Media yesterday for example) look fantastic in colour and the articles are still incisive and very accessible. Some in the graphics department need to come to terms with the full colour supplements and stuff like that but yesterdays MEdia Guardian was a very readable supplement, improvement there too.
I noticed on the forum that one poster said the new G2 is crap. Il be honest, I rarely read it. The size is undoubtedly a bit fiddley. It seems more like that Glamour magazine yolk than a features section. Still as i said, i dont read it much. So the verdict on that is for others to call.
I felt, however, that no matter how cool or not the new size and how all singing all dancing a full colour paper may be (eventually it wasnt full colour, which served the center spread picture of police and soldiers in the north no justice), it was in the editorial where the proof of the pudding lay.
The new front page is a bit breezy and active, thats good. Its still serving up two to three major stories but detail has moved inside. All in all its not too downmarket a stance to take...yet.
Between the covers are new bits and old bits. The old commentators are there, and Simon Jenkins is on his way to keep Max Hastings company as regular 'challenging' contributors.
The comment pages feel lacking however, the old one bustled with essays and words all over the gaff, I felt that they may have culled the word haul or else cut the quota of comment pieces. That doesnt make me very happy, I enjoy the opinion pages for a lot of challenging dialogue. I feel that currently, its comment section could afford to be more robust, still its only settling in yet.
Its good to see the news coverage get picked up again. The last few weeks was a skeletal affair while many journos were away working on the new format or on holliers.
So the news section seems to be improved, perhaps its the increased page count or simply increasing content. Still I cannot shake the feeling of dumbing down. Its a natural reaction though i doubt it will last. On reflection its a good solid advancement for a paper badly in need of a lift in sales. This move could make the paper into a much stronger entity. I will not stop buying it, though I am still sceptical on the fate of the comment section.
Much of it is fresh, the layouts new and the practical design very solid. The content retains some serious tone, the test of time will be a strong one however. If the change in format fails to halt circulation decline it could be curtains for serious content.
It will be interesting to watch over the coming months the leanings of the paper and ideological shift if there is any. I hope there aint, yet its all change currently.
Thats it really. Good bits, bad bits and still some ironing out to do.
RR
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