Monday, June 8, 2009

Rant #26: Give Me Back Our Old Newspaper Format, Please!

On Long Island, the only daily, mass circulation newspaper to serve the populace is known as Newsday.

I always thought it looked at itself as a better newspaper than the other major New York area tabloids: The Daily News and the Post, the two newspapers that are its prime competition. The New York Times really never entered into Newsday's equation, even though Newsday would have liked it too.

During the past two weeks, Newsday has radically changed the format of its newspaper. To me, it has made it more friendly for the 12-24 year old who doesn't generally read newspapers. It has slimmed down its size, trimmed the number of pages it produces, trimmed stories although it has increased its headlines, and generally, it has thrown out all that was good in its old format for something it considers entirely new. And, of course, it has jumped on the greening bandwagon as a more "environmentally friendly" publication.

Of course, what Newsday did not take into consideration was its readership. This now strange-looking newspaper has been taken to task by its readers in today's paper. Letters-To-The Editor writers have lambasted Newsday for ruining a good thing for something akin to The Wall Street Journal changing its format to look like the National Enquirer.

And readership is correct. The newspaper is harder to read, although it takes about two-thirds of the time to read it now. It looks plain weird, too.

The photo I have included is how Newsday once looked. I cannot find an image of how it looks now to show you the radical difference.

I applaud Newsday's higher ups for allowing the newspaper to print all of the negatives about the paper's format in the very pages that have undergone this radical transformation. However, is it just all hot air, or does Newsday plan on changing back to the old format, or at least tweaking what it has now?

I realize that a lot of newspapers are going the electronic route, and more and more papers are charging for electronic content. But one of my guilty pleasures (before, during and after my recent vision problems) is to sit down in the morning and read the newspaper. I don't need huge headlines followed by clipped stories in a totally unfriendly format.

Give me my old paper, please!

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