Why Print News Still Rules
September 13, 2016 9:02 PM   Subscribe

Reading the news online pales compared to reading it in newsprint. Print—particularly the newspaper—is an amazingly sophisticated technology for showing you what’s important, and showing you a lot of it. The newspaper has refined its user interface for more than two centuries. Incorporated into your daily newspaper's architecture are the findings from field research conducted in thousands of newspapers over hundreds of millions of editions.

Bring back design hierarchy! Abandon the “throw it on the Web and see what happens” ethos! Don't try to trap me on your site like a rat in a maze, forever clicking. Do what newspaper design has long done—direct the reader to that which is vital, tease him with that which is entertaining and frivolous, and give him a sense of a journey completed by the time he hits the last pages.
posted by storybored (52 comments total) 26 users marked this as a favorite
 
I don't know what newspapers Mr. Shafer reads, but I disagree with his basic premise. If anything newspapers have gotten worse because of on line news. It's all about making money. Veracity takes a back seat to finance. Paper is going the way of the buggy whip because it can not compete.

my devotion to newsprint is almost cultistic

Yes. We can tell. It doesn't make you right. Because you're actually completely wrong. Except for your tunnel vision version of reality.
posted by Splunge at 9:17 PM on September 13, 2016 [15 favorites]


tease him with that which is entertaining and frivolous, and give him a sense of a journey

I guess no atavistic, curmudgeonly rant about the golden age of newsprint is complete without presuming the reader is a man.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 9:28 PM on September 13, 2016 [17 favorites]


When your argument hinges on "NEWSPAPER BIGGER THAN EVEN TWO SCREENS" maybe I won't trust your judgement.
posted by Ferreous at 9:32 PM on September 13, 2016


Damn this article is so bad. No one goes "The Trib is 2 Oz. heavier today, I need to read more news!"
posted by Ferreous at 9:34 PM on September 13, 2016


Eh, if only most newspapers hadn't been bought up by Gannett, and the rest following them in a race to the bottom to become the 20th Century version of Buzzfeed.
posted by drinkyclown at 9:58 PM on September 13, 2016 [5 favorites]


I wonder how many newspapers rejected this story before it was picked up by the online Politico.
posted by oneswellfoop at 10:04 PM on September 13, 2016 [7 favorites]


Here's one example of why print media sucks: In the province of New Brunswick, both the oil and forestry industries are monopolies, and they're both controlled by one family, the Irvings, who also happen to own every daily newspaper. The whole place could be a deforested oilslick and nobody would be any the wiser. (Another family, the McCains, has a monopoly on potatoes. It's truly a magical place.)

Say what you will about news on the internet, but at least it's not like that, and probably never will be.
posted by Sys Rq at 10:06 PM on September 13, 2016 [9 favorites]


It is kind of sad to think that the younger generation may grow up without ever experiencing the process of having to throw away the Sport, Property, Fashion, Travel, Cars and Money sections (as well as the inserts and the advertising supplement 'Guatemala: Fired for Growth!') that is so much part of the experience of getting to the two-day old news in the print edition.
posted by Segundus at 10:11 PM on September 13, 2016 [61 favorites]


I do miss having the time to sit around, reading the newspaper from cover to cover. Nowadays most papers just aren't very satisfying, as they're rather slim and don't take very long to get through. I did grab a Sunday NYT when I was on vacation this March, and that made for a nice afternoon on the train.
posted by Standard Orange at 10:15 PM on September 13, 2016 [6 favorites]


I usually sit around and bring up news from around the world on my little phone. If I try hard I can do it on the toilet as well. Although, to be fair, if I run out of toilet paper I can't use my phone to wipe. So actual newsprint still has its place.
posted by Splunge at 10:31 PM on September 13, 2016 [2 favorites]


I still love sitting around and reading the paper on Sundays.

Of course, any interesting/tone deaf/funny articles I take a photo of, then post to social media.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 10:37 PM on September 13, 2016 [1 favorite]


By the way, everyone should throw away their digital cameras, too, and go back to film! And bring back the LP, while we're at it!
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 10:42 PM on September 13, 2016 [1 favorite]


Amazing, "because I say it is!" is still not the best argument. Who knew?
posted by nfalkner at 11:17 PM on September 13, 2016 [3 favorites]


Here's one example of why print media sucks: In the province of New Brunswick, both the oil and forestry industries are monopolies, and they're both controlled by one family, the Irvings, who also happen to own every daily newspaper. The whole place could be a deforested oilslick and nobody would be any the wiser. (Another family, the McCains, has a monopoly on potatoes. It's truly a magical place.)

Just a plug out there: the striking employees of the Halifax Chronicle Herald (not New Brunswick and not an Irving-owned joint) have been doing their own thing online: Localexpress.

But as someone who still gets the dead tree edition of the New York Times on Sunday (because I, too, enjoy a print newspaper with a Sunday coffee), and as someone who once laboured over a lightboard with an X-acto knife, waxer and roller, I can say that this:

Incorporated into your daily newspaper's architecture are the findings from field research conducted in thousands of newspapers over hundreds of millions of editions. Newspaper designers have created a universal grammar of headline size, typeface, place, letter spacing, white space, sections, photography, and illustration that gives readers subtle clues on what and how to read to satisfy their news needs.

...is moot insofar as the paper is only as good as what's in it. Ever pick up a print copy of the Daily Mail?

And this:

Newsprint's superiority became obvious to me this summer when circumstances prevented early morning delivery of three dailies—the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Wall Street Journal. I did my best to keep informed by spending about a half hour on each newspaper's website, scrolling and clicking. Later in the morning when the newsprint versions were delivered I was astonished to find how many worthy stories I had skipped or bailed on when reading online. To make the audiophile analogy again, the news presented in newsprint regained its full fidelity. The stories made sense in relation to one another. I felt like I was reading something whole, not something slivered.

...should really be rethought as a criticism of user interface but it isn't. The publication didn't regain "its full fidelity." It simply was easier for this particular user to sort through on paper vs. its online counterpart.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 11:19 PM on September 13, 2016 [5 favorites]


The editorial process of prioritizing content in a useful fashion that happens in print is valuable. It's like a really intuitive way to convey decisions by a group of paid professionals, even if you vehemently disagree with them (as I think about today's front page of the Times, which has three stories on Clinton's, oh, never mind.) Consider also Judith Miller's or the Times' defense that they reported the "doubts" on the Iraq War--anyone who was paying attention knows it's BS, but it's nice and objective rebuttal to see those articles appeared two days later on page 12, as compared to the front page coverage the credulous reporting of lies got.

I've often thought the same thing regarding wikipedia--we've lost something when the article on Season Six, episode 12 of Deep Space Nine* is longer than that on the Gettysburg Address†.

Now I don't think you can argue you lose more than we gain with a straight face or without being gratuitously contrarian. Personalized recommendations and hyperlinks and random access is awesome. But we've still lost something. So I guess I agree with the article more than I want to, despite it's obvious flaws.

* "Who Morns for Mourn"** in case you're wondering. DS9 was a lot of fun then.

† Just looked it up and it's not actually longer but episode 12 of Season Six does get it's own entry, which surprised me. I assumed it'd just be one article with a table of all the episodes. So this means season six of the 3rd most popular Star Trek series has way, way more wikipedia ink on it than the friggin' Gettysburg Address for christ's sake, so my point is valid with even less hyperbole than I thought I was indulging in.

** While I'm on the subject, am I the only one who thinks this episode was an obvious remake of Charade? I really meant to chime in on the fanfare rewatch when that episode came up.

posted by mark k at 11:21 PM on September 13, 2016 [9 favorites]


I guess no atavistic, curmudgeonly rant about the golden age of newsprint is complete without presuming the reader is a man.

Well, presuming that's the acceptable default for English (which is something mostly atavistic, curmudgeonly people like to put up a fight about for sure.)
posted by atoxyl at 11:35 PM on September 13, 2016


By the way, everyone should throw away their digital cameras, too, and go back to film! And bring back the LP, while we're at it!


I know tons of people who've done that - the LP has been 'back' for almost a decade, and pro photographers still use film, and even Polaroids. Those have clear aesthetic advantages over digital, though - and I can see print surviving in a limited form for that reason. If The Onion, for example, brought back their print edition they'd probably make money from it.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 11:37 PM on September 13, 2016 [1 favorite]


Well... newspaper makes your hands get black smudges all over them, so there is that...
posted by greenhornet at 11:58 PM on September 13, 2016


No one goes "The Trib is 2 Oz. heavier today, I need to read more news!"

I did! Why, I remember when the San Francisco Chronicle and the San Jose Mercury News had a price war and both were selling for a quarter. They had hawkers selling papers in every BART station in downtown! Nowadays both papers are pale shadows of their former selves, their entire issues thinner than the local sections they printed in the past.

...goddamn, saying that makes me feel like an old man. But that price war was just 16 years ago. The decline has been so fast. The papers in 2000 were so thick they were unwieldy. Now you can fold up a weekday paper and stick it on your pocket.
posted by ryanrs at 12:51 AM on September 14, 2016


I work on the website at one of those newspapers, and I’m very proud of our site and its design, but I think Shafer’s complaints here are on point.

We’ve tried all kinds of things, for example, to help our readers keep their sense of place as they browse (a long-standing problem for computer interfaces). Still, nothing beats just visually scanning a broadsheet. And I don’t know if anyone’s figured out how to communicate online the same sense of hierarchy (relative newsworthiness) you can get from print. That’s difficult when each story is presented as its own free-standing item, devoid of the hints you get from page layout, headline size, the surrounding articles.

I’ve been going online for news ever since I could read, and I keep thinking it’s a bit disappointing our digital editions can’t be better. As if digital should be categorically better than dead trees. That’s supposed to be the promise of technology… right?
posted by lurkfirst at 1:10 AM on September 14, 2016 [14 favorites]


mark k: "So this means season six of the 3rd most popular Star Trek series has way, way more wikipedia ink on it than the friggin' Gettysburg Address for christ's sake, so my point is valid with even less hyperbole than I thought I was indulging in."

The Gettysburg Address is renowned for its brevity. A lot of people have only ever heard it referred to, expect it's some kind of endless stemwinder. It's 10 sentences long, straight to the point. It's no Treaty of Westphalia.

(And most of the Wikipedia page on the Gettysburg Address is about the manuscript variants, not the content of the speech).
posted by chavenet at 1:36 AM on September 14, 2016 [2 favorites]


I've often thought the same thing regarding wikipedia--we've lost something when the article on Season Six, episode 12 of Deep Space Nine* is longer than that on the Gettysburg Address†.

DS9 has international appeal, while the Gettysburg Address is local politics.
posted by biffa at 1:36 AM on September 14, 2016 [6 favorites]


Hey now, DS9 season 6 was really good!

(although Lincoln beginning the Gettysburg Address with a 420 reference was pretty dope, too)
posted by ryanrs at 1:59 AM on September 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


This is just sad: the once-great Toronto Star has been reduced to trying to make money by selling coffee.

I'm a big luddite; I prefer reading paper books and love vinyl records, but even I've pretty much given up on newspapers. The problem is that a lot of expensive, high-quality journalism was funded by advertising revenue in newspapers and magazines at levels that seem unlikely to be matched by revenues from internet advertising for the foreseeable future, and media companies are having trouble bridging the gap with online subscriptions and/or paywalls.
posted by The Card Cheat at 2:59 AM on September 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


There still is nothing like the laid-back, Saturday morning on the couch, with the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal newspapers on hand, coffee nearby, WNYC playing NPR on Amazon Alexa, and iPhone6 ready to tweet out interesting print stories, for me.

I don't know if this is clumsy native advertising or clumsy class signaling, but I kind of want to punch this sentence.

The newspaper has refined its user interface for more than two centuries. ... Newspaper designers have created a universal grammar of headline size, typeface, place, letter spacing, white space, sections, photography, and illustration that gives readers subtle clues on what and how to read to satisfy their news needs.

While it's lovely to think this, the design was driven by the old school version of the same thing he rails against with online news - to grab eyeballs and keep them reading long enough that the readers eyes can't help but see advertising, which is what's almost always paid for mainstream news. Articles weren't split up across two or more physical pages to encourage exploration of what else is in the paper, they're like that so you have to flip past ads to finish the story you started.
posted by Candleman at 3:50 AM on September 14, 2016 [5 favorites]


For some reason someone left a few editions of the local paper in the kitchen at work so I started reading one while my kettle heated yesterday. I was a dedicated print reader until a decade ago but trying to read now was such a frustrating exercise. Reading a bit of an article and then trying to find the rest of it somewhere in the mass of newsprint is not exactly what I call a user friendly experience.
posted by octothorpe at 4:01 AM on September 14, 2016 [2 favorites]


I just said this on another thread but: I went without the print newspaper for about 15 years. Started getting it again and I feel dumb for having gone without it so long. The print newspaper isn't something I've been clinging to for years, not recognizing there's a better alternative: it's something I intentionally returned to because it works better for me than the alternatives.

Shafer was my editor at Slate, an Internet-only publication, 15 years ago. So it's not like he doesn't value online content distribution -- he was there before most other people!
posted by escabeche at 4:54 AM on September 14, 2016 [7 favorites]


By the way, everyone should throw away their digital cameras, too, and go back to film! And bring back the LP, while we're at it!

As for this -- it just seems so weird to me that people think there's some kind of universal knob of "techiness" which is either good or bad, and someone who wants a print newspaper should also want a film camera. Different things are going to work for different people. I have no use for an LP, a film camera, or cable TV, but I value and use my print newspaper, my CDs, my landline, and my checkbook. That's not hypocritical or inconsistent or weird.
posted by escabeche at 4:58 AM on September 14, 2016 [11 favorites]


If I don't read the news online, where will I go to find the stream of racist comments below every story?
posted by TrialByMedia at 5:04 AM on September 14, 2016 [3 favorites]


The tetchy versus the techy.
posted by Segundus at 5:18 AM on September 14, 2016 [2 favorites]


The New York Times web site has gotten really, really good at presenting/laying out its stories by a visual language of size that echoes the conventions of print.

By contrast, the various local papers' online format (Wicked Local) is a usability nightmare. They were just heavily redesigned and are worse than they were before, and because all the town papers in greater Boston are under the same ownership, it's increasingly difficult to read local stories from 5-7 important cities in the GBA.
posted by overeducated_alligator at 5:25 AM on September 14, 2016 [2 favorites]


By the way, everyone should throw away their digital cameras, too, and go back to film! And bring back the LP, while we're at it!

Neither film cameras or LPs have gone anywhere. LP sales were up 38% last year and 51% the year before that and many of the biggest blockbuster films are shot on film including the last Star Wars.
posted by octothorpe at 5:32 AM on September 14, 2016 [3 favorites]


I will say this, I can't use my iPad to start a fire in my fireplace. That's pretty much the only reason I still subscribe to a print-only newspaper. My wife also uses it in the garden beds for some reason.

Print has its uses.
posted by bondcliff at 7:04 AM on September 14, 2016


Maybe not newspapers as much, but for magazines with long-form articles and well laid-out design, like the New Yorker or the Atlantic, print experience is still far ahead of online. Delivery method and cost counts too, it's way easier to get something as part of regular mail vs. feeling guilty for forcing morning newspaper delivery, and you're the only print subscriber in a 5 mile radius.
posted by shala at 7:14 AM on September 14, 2016 [2 favorites]


There is one reason and one reason only why print may be considered superior to online: Ad format. In a print newspaper, the advertisements don't suddenly cover the entire goddamned page and they aren't ever animated or contain autoplaying video.

If you're easily distracted, I can certainly see that being an issue.

Personally, I find it most comforting to obtain my news in white print on a professional blue background.
posted by caution live frogs at 7:16 AM on September 14, 2016


...also, this bit about "Reading retention suffers on a Kindle" (linked in the FPP) is missing the point entirely. The FPP author uses it as a point to claim that digital readers are bad for us. The article linked basically seems to argue that the reason retention is worse on a digital reader is that the screens are eye-straining, the "cooling fans" cost money, and there's an inherent temptation to click a link and wander off into the internet somewhere. All of which are nonexistent worries on the standard Kindle that's been available for forever. The iPad-like Kindle Fire? Sure, but a regular Kindle? Internet on them is theoretically possible but realistically horrible; the screens are no harder or easier to read than paper, by design!; and no e-reader, tablet, or phone has cooling fans (many LAPTOPS don't these days - although some Samsung phones, maybe they SHOULD have fans?)

All of which is to say - when I read on a dedicated e-reader I'm no more or less distracted than when reading a book. Many people (my wife included) have better retention and concentration when using an e-reader. In fact, on my Kindle there are no clever links to supporting media that (upon closer inspection) don't exactly support the author's argument... like there is with the FPP.

Hmm. Maybe an argument in favor of online news. Authors can link directly to source material, making it easier for readers to fact-check or draw their own, possibly contrary, conclusions.

I gave up shortly after that paragraph. I have a hard time taking a guy seriously when he rails about "I'm not being an old-fashioned curmudgeon! I have street cred in web print!" while simultaneously capitalizing "Web site" because ugh. Really?
posted by caution live frogs at 7:30 AM on September 14, 2016


To be clear, I'm not saying the guy DOESN'T have online print cred. I'm simply arguing that his (or his editor's) old-fashioned stylistic choice there doesn't help his argument.
posted by caution live frogs at 7:31 AM on September 14, 2016


So, the interesting thing to me is that the article's argument rests on something I have made the focus of my professional life for the last year or so — visual design and hierarchy as an important element of communication. The problem is not that the web or any other digital technology is per se bad at communicating news. Rather, it's that the pressures of multi-channel distribution have caused many publishers (and developers) to strip away the meaning that was previously conveyed by visual design and hierarchy on the average newspaper page. The position of individual articles in relation to each other, the selection of which articles received photographic treatment and in which sizes, decisions about headline size, etc, are all used to convey meaning in print. But on the web, those things are often homogenized to single templates or naive recency algorithms.

Slowly but surely more publishers are starting to wise up, and are deliberately capturing and making use of the meaning that previously lived only in those design decisions. But until it becomes more common, yeah, online news will feel more monotonous and homogenized than its print versions. (video link for like, an hour of me ranting about the language of design and its importance in publishing, do not click unless you enjoy the word 'ontologies')
posted by verb at 7:38 AM on September 14, 2016 [4 favorites]


Sys Rq: Here's one example of why print media sucks ...

And here's another: The Santa Barbara News-Press, after a controversial purchase and restructuring by businesswoman Wendy P. McCaw, has significantly shrunken in size and importance. Santa Barbara is still a relatively small, but relatively wealthy coastal California town, but the decline of its paper shows how controlling ownership can limit local (print) journalism to the point no one cares about it any more.

Then there are small, shrinking western towns, where print media is dying as the population drops. While internet access isn't great in some of those rural towns, internet publishing may be the last bastion of truly local news.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:31 AM on September 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


BREAKING: Local Website Pans Print on Local Website
posted by Celsius1414 at 8:46 AM on September 14, 2016


From 1999-2012 I worked for a Gannett newspaper, local to 3 counties in New Jersey . I had many jobs, but all had to do with the paper's website. When my paper spent the money on a dedicated online team, we had a very well designed web site with a good balance of photos, stories, and a small number of ads that drew good money because of placement and limited number.

And then the cost-cutters came. Gannett chose one design firm to create a look for all of its local properties. (We had a choice from 8 different color palettes if I recall correctly). They went with one content publishing platform across all properties, that ALLEGEDLY allowed newsroom folk to choose how their stories were laid out and where they were published on the site. They went with one advertising publishing platform across all properties, which took all size, position, and placement flexibility away from the local ad departments.* To keep the print ship from sinking, our soul was sold to Daily Deals schemes, sites like Outbrain, and obnoxious page-cover ads.

All of the online-only positions were eliminated**, leaving the entire online presence in the hands of overworked, unenthusiastic, and digitally inexperienced newsroom people who would give every story the same priority level because they didn't have the time/desire to learn about stylesheets or what H1/H2/H3 tags were. Corporate's digital "gurus" put rules in place like: "Every story needs a photo because online people love photos. You are unable to publish stories without a photo." No, every story doesn't need a photo. Sometimes you don't have one***, so then you're uploading clip art icons or stock photos just to get the darn story online.

With everything, if you want a good-looking ... THING ... you should have designers/developers/strategists build the thing. You can't outsource it. And that's what happened with most local paper websites.

That's just from the local website's side of things. I know our print product has suffered from many similar decisions.

*For example, we used to be able to suppress auto ads on stories about fatal car accidents. No more.
**I ended up with the advertising department, trying to teach life-long print reps why they shouldn't use a ruler to measure ads on computer monitors.
***Because of course they gave iPhones to reporters and laid off all but 1 or 2 actual photographers. How many repr
posted by kimberussell at 8:59 AM on September 14, 2016 [2 favorites]


Obviously I was not a copyeditor because that last line should have read:

***Because of course they gave iPhones to reporters and laid off all but 1 or 2 actual photographers. How many reporters can really get all aspects of a news story and be a good judge of lighting and composition?

I loved working at that paper, and it repeatedly broke my heart.
posted by kimberussell at 9:34 AM on September 14, 2016 [2 favorites]


I prefer paper, in theory. But I end up reading the news online because then I can read The Grauniad, NYTimes, WaPo, and other sources. I read my local paper mostly online, which means I tend to miss the arrests, so I don't know who speeds, and the obits, so sorry if I missed the funeral home.

My Little Rantpony: Every friggin' time I re-up to the local paper, they try to get me to try different subscriptions or call me all the time, and I get annoyed and quit. Marketing seems to measure only what they sell, not what they lose by over-marketing.
posted by theora55 at 9:35 AM on September 14, 2016


I wonder how many newspapers rejected this story before it was picked up by the online Politico.

Politico is actually a print publication.
posted by Jahaza at 10:38 AM on September 14, 2016


There's something this author doesn't understand, which is his wall of text of wishy-washy rationalizations is not a mere "generational difference" as suggested/explained to him by the communications scholar, but a consequence of his ideological blinders created by and re-created by his own supposed desirability of a particular sociopolitical communications infrastructure. "Generational difference" is academic code for politics, and until he is open to that and educates himself in that respect, he will never grasp the problematics of the social act of reading traditional print.

It's this onslaught of cheap, superficial thinking "Here are the reasons why print news rules but I cannot actually provide much insight" that's not the healthiest in terms of public discourse. That print is supposed to be better, but that's the only framing and highest level of talk that it offers. A person's news reflects a person's worldview and their sociopolitical context; that explains why authentically talking about it can only be a vulnerable and difficult process. The lack of self-challenging here is what's symptomatic.
posted by polymodus at 11:04 AM on September 14, 2016


do people still subscribe to print newspapers for reasons other than the crossword puzzle??
posted by burgerrr at 11:06 AM on September 14, 2016


Sure. Other reasons include: 1. The subscription was free because the paper is trying to inflate its ad rates by getting circulation numbers up, and/or 2. If you give in and subscribe, maybe they'll finally stop calling.
posted by Sys Rq at 11:26 AM on September 14, 2016


do people still subscribe to print newspapers for reasons other than the crossword puzzle??

We get the local daily paper and read it over breakfast every morning. My kids read it with me and we talk about stuff going on in the world. Looking at news on a screen just doesn't work the same way as spreading out the paper on the table.

(It's also useful for starting the charcoal BBQ, lining the compost bin, starting the fireplace, but those are just extra bonuses)
posted by fimbulvetr at 11:48 AM on September 14, 2016 [3 favorites]


What is this 'paper' of which you speak ?
posted by twidget at 1:26 PM on September 14, 2016


I quit most print media unless I think it has long term value. Throwing most of the newspaper away in a few minutes just makes me feel like crap when I know I can get higher quality news and information online. When I toss the rest of it 15-20 minutes later, I feel worse. I think to myself, "young people and future generations will hate me for this."
posted by Muncle at 5:33 PM on September 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


The local paper costs something like $500/year, and sometimes the first section seems to be at least 50% ads.
posted by Halloween Jack at 6:52 PM on September 14, 2016


I've been reading newspapers for more than 50 years, and I now run a chain of more than 35 of them, all of them available in newsprint and online.

For me, print is superior to online for one basic reason: Discovery.

When you’re online, you click on what already interests you. Often, it’s unhealthy bait.

When you page through a newspaper, by contrast, you can’t help but read what interests someone else. (That someone else, by the way, is much better at selecting those stories than you will ever be, because that’s his or her job.)

I’ve made it a habit to read at least one story every day that doesn’t interest me - something that I just happen to stumble across as I page through the paper, something I wouldn’t normally give a rat’s ass about: a dispatch from some obscure country; a fashion story; an analysis of boring Fed rules; anything by Thomas Friedman.

I imagine one could do the same online, but in an age when algorithms - as opposed to smart and, yes, opinionated editors - tell us what to read, that takes a great deal of discipline.

To me, reading these other stories - the ones you wouldn’t click on - broadens your worldview, challenges your beliefs and makes you a better citizen. And that is the greater good of journalism.
posted by sixpack at 11:18 AM on September 15, 2016 [3 favorites]


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