THE GUARDIAN: AN EXPERT’S VIEW - The redesigned Guardian could be too clean-cut for readers, Jim Marshall says

The new-look Guardian: it’s cleaner, it’s better laid out, it’s more colourful and it’s got a useful guide to what’s in the paper on page two.

The new-look Guardian: it’s cleaner, it’s better laid out, it’s

more colourful and it’s got a useful guide to what’s in the paper on

page two.



But is it better? Yes, difficult to argue with that. Do I like it

more?



Well ... the question really is do I like it as much? Probably not - for

the moment at least.



The problem for me is that - a major insight this - it is different.



The big difference is not in terms of content or features. It still has

a healthy cynicism in its coverage of most stories which, of course,

allows it and its readers to adopt a slightly sanctimonious view of the

world.



No, the difference is in its new-found efficiency. Will it, or indeed

can it, in its new guise continue to make the same errors that made The

Guardian famous, lovable and which have even generated their own section

in the paper?



For a Guardian veteran, this efficiency was always going to be

potentially uncomfortable.



Remember, it was we who resisted the cleaner-cut and more fashionable

Independent when it first launched. There is a sneaking suspicion that

The Guardian is now after these Independent readers, possibly at my

expense.



But it is early days in the life of the new Guardian and even I would

accept that there are a lot of improvements. For example, they no longer

seem to move Simon Hoggart all over the place, the unnecessary Friday

sports section has been ditched and the middle of the newspaper is much

better.



OK, I admit the paper is better and more user-friendly. And, most

importantly, my fingers are still reassuringly black after reading it.

However, next time they redesign it, I won’t like it then, either.



Jim Marshall is the chief executive of MediaVest.



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