Monday, May 18, 2009

JMO - Reading Newspapers

I've written that I read 3-5 newspapers 4-5 days a week and the on-line newspapers almost every day. The two are vastly different and require vastly different reading styles, but after reading almost as many on-line newspapers as print ones, I still like print ones, and I wish there was a way to make the on-line ones read like the print ones.

I say this for a variety of reasons.

First, print newspapers focus your attention, on each page from the front page to the editorials and all the other sections. You get a selected set of stories, ads, letters, columns, etc. presented to you so you can scan just that one page. On-line newspapers are totally cluttered with all the one line story titles and links, all the ads, video and audio files, etc. Your eyes and mind are flooded with the whole thing at once.

Second, print newspapers provide ease and simplicity. A lot like the first reason, except this one is just the one page at a time reading. You can also just skip pages to particular sections or stories continued from previous pages. With the on-line ones you have to first see the organization and structure of the Web pages, find the sections you want and click to them to find the same design again, flooding your eyes and mind.

On-line newspapers are about presenting the whole choices of news and you pick what you want. But each one is different and each one often uses different names for the sections. You have to familarize yourself with each newspaper's Website for the sections you want. I always look for "Today's Paper" link. Unfortunately USA Today doesn't have one.

Third, print editions have the headline and story on the same page. You can read the first few paragraphs for a taste of the article if you want. On-line requires clicking to the story, in parts (separate Web pages) or whole (short). And then you have to click back or somewhere else to continue. With print you simply turn the page.

Ok, enough ranting about the differences. I still like print editions and am angry the Washington Post isn't available locally, only by the next day subscription. But I'm learning to read on-line newspapers, albeit slowly and begrudingly, which I usually end up printing the story to read. But it's not the same.

I'm a crudmudgeon about newspapers, but not a stuck one, just a slow one.

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