I get the bus to work and like most of my fellow passengers, I pick up a copy of the free newspaper The Metro to read on the 20-min journey. I usually read about a third of the way in, then read the rest at lunchtime. There we no free papers on the bus this morning though, so I decided to buy a copy of The Guardian instead. I’m a big fan of both Charlie Brooker and Ben Goldacre (both of whom write for the Guardian) so my choice was based mainly on that.
The paper itself cost me 90 pence, which was double most of the other newpapers for sale and infinitely more than the zero pence of the Metro. I nearly didn’t buy it when I saw how big the paper was: not quite as large as a broadsheet, but much bigger than a normal tabloid and with all the supplemental bits you get with it seemed quite unwieldly. But I bought it anyway, so here’s what I thought:
Five Things I liked about The Guardian (Hardcopy version):
- Unlike the Metro, there were no stories on the front page about dead dogs or the bad science of liver-disease curing wonder Aspirin or killer mouthwash (see last week’s Metro headlines).
- Charlie Brooker had a whole page to himself. I had actually already read his column on my G1 Android phone while waiting for the bus, but the paper vs. online fight is for another day.
- There’s a good amount of science and technology stories, including several astronomy stories, an in-depth feature on the Digital Britain report, a whole page on Google Oceans, and an item about Facebook. All seemed well informed and not calling for anything to be banned at all.
- Articles and pieces about various celebs I like: Armando Iannucci, David Attenborough, 80s pop-pixie Clare Grogan, even Robert Scoble.
- Battlestar Galactia gets a mention on the TV page. ++ points for me there instantly.
Five Things I didn’t like about The Guardian (Hardcopy version):
- It’s way too big – I tried to read it on the bus but kept hitting the guy sitting next to me with my elbow. I read that it used to be even bigger (broadsheet size) and that this is a smaller version. It’s still way too big though, I ended up just reading the front page and back page (very slowly) as it was too much hassle to open it on the packed bus.
- It’s it too many parts – I tried reading it in a cafe at lunchtime and bits kept on falling out on the floor. I think I lost the sports supplement somewhere along to way too. Why is this paper trying to look (and weigh) like a Sunday paper on a Monday?
- There was a piece under a Health banner entitled: “Worst day for sickness at work, says survey” This is the kind of “news” I wanted to get away from by not reading the Metro.
- Distracting numbers in a big font of random factoids on almost every page: I subscribe to Total Film magazine and they do something similar but on far fewer pages (and at least there you know it’s going to be someting about films).
- It cost me 90 pence, whereas both the Metro and Google Reader are free.