Where magazines and digital meet
and have a fun time together.
A funny thing happened recently: I like reading newspapers again.
I recently reviewed the PressReader app, which I thought did a good job of giving you access to digital scans of newspapers from around the world. Over the years, I’ve been quite vocal — and critical — about magazines that make it to digital as barely more than scans. With PressReader, I felt that even though you’re dealing with scans (or probably the original digital files), the fact that you have access to such a range of international titles is where the true value lies. But as I’ve continued to use the app, I find myself loving to take in newspaper layouts again.
As I mentioned in the review, I had only really spent time with the iPad version, but since then I’ve been using the iPhone version as well — during my train commutes — and despite the tiny size, I find it very enjoyable to take in the long newspaper pages on my iPhone’s screen. Yes, most newspaper content can be found on the web these days, but I’ve never taken to reading news that way — and so I’ve found myself, over the years, not reading any newspapers, except for The New York Times when it first launched its iPad app.
The two newspapers I’ve been taking in daily are Canada’s two national papers: The National Post and The Globe and Mail. This is also the first time I take in news from a Canadian source in a decade or more (since I’ve been living in Japan).
I think that what I find especially satisfying is the way I can parse the content on those big pages — the structure of a page that lets you quickly see what’s important, what’s an insight, or how much coverage there is for a particular topic. And there’s of course the layouts — if there’s one thing that a proper print newspaper has over any other media it’s the ability to produce some amazing things with photography, based on the size it occupies in the layout, or even how it is used (like in spreads).
I’m not saying that I’m now OK if apps take this simple approach to presenting content (by simply replicating the print page as is), but that in this case, it has really made me re-appreciate the art of newspaper design.