The Gray Lady
In case you hadn't noticed, the New York Times unveiled the redesign of its Web site this week. It has some new features, like this crazily-specific selection of RSS feeds. (I find it intriguing that you can subscribe just to the Wedding announcements.) But most noticeably, it just looks different, wider somehow, and with a new font, Georgia, replacing the old standby, Times New Roman. The changes have caused much commentary in the blogosphere, and a rave review in Slate, in which Jack Shafer proposes eliminating the print edition.
First, I don't want to hear any crazy talk about eliminating paper editions of newspapers. Call me old-fashioned, but I subscribe to the print editions of both the Times and the Post, and the thought of giving them up fills me with anxiety. Sure, I know that you can do the crossword puzzle or sudoku online, but it's not the same. And the paper version is portable, so it can be read in places other than in front of your computer, like in an airplane, on the porch, in bed, and, um, other places. Most importantly, the print edition is fixed and finite. One of the things that bothers me about reading things online is that you can never be sure you've read everything.
Second, I can never think about the Times without comparing it to the Post. True to form, the Times' Web site is more polished, but also sort of bland. By contrast, the Post takes more risks, not all of which pay off. Notably, the Post is much farther ahead in producing content just for the internet, including blogs, columns, and chats. Also, like its print edition, the Post's Web site is more geared to a local audience, which I appreciate.