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actually buying the Guardian a few years ago. I still read it because we get it at work, but I just wouldn't spend my money on it these days, despite it being the paper that probably comes closest to my own political views.
Why don't I like it? Well, first of all, on a technical basis, I can't stand the layout. I find it really, really hard to read. They've tried to use all sorts of feature page design tricks like leaving lots of space and arty use of pics in the news pages, and to my mind it just doesn't work when you've got so much text and so much space, and so little to pull it into a unified whole. It also means they've cut down on the number of stories covered, which makes their news coverage at least quite narrow.
I also have a problem with the editorial focus. It irritates me no end when people elevate the Guardian above papers like the Daily Mail on the grounds that one has more 'impartial' coverage than the other, because it's crap. Both work in the same way, by selling their reader's prejudices back to them, and the Guardian is as unquestioning of stories that fit its philosophy as is the Mail. The Guardian will give prominence to environmental and race-issue stories, just as the Mail will publicise those involving children and health scares. It's just a question of catering to your market. And as I say, the Guardian covers proportionally fewer stories than other papers, which only exacerbates the effect. As for the areas that you'd expect the Guardian to be good at, I find their foreign coverage in particular a real disappointment. Although they have a few superb individual correspondents (Maggie O'Kane and John Aglionby in Indonesia, for example), generally it's all taken from the wires and really marginalised within the paper.
I also object to the tone of the paper. Basically I think they've got hideously smug and self-righteous since the whole Hamilton and Aiken things, making out like they're establishment watchdogs or something. And they're not. TO base this on the Hamilton thing is especially objectionable, as they only got that story because Mohammed Fayed decided to tip all the necessary papers in their lap. All they had to do was publish.
Their saving grace, in my view, is G2, simply because it's a great format and it's nice to have a tabloid thing to read on the tube. The stories can be alittle predictable, but it does enables them to have a vastly superior jobs section.
Don't really agree with you - I think the Daily Mail is far more guilty of pandering to it's readers prejudices. Yes, the Guardian layout is crap, but the content is good. Foreign news is a weak point though - so we agree on that. Generally, I prefer the Indy (especially for foreign news) and am a big fan of the World service. The Guardian is brilliant on a Friday though - 'the editor' is superb (especially for busy people) and G2 has all the film and music reviews on a Friday too. Now the Indy main paper with G2 inside would be my ideal paper!
jason.rowe 09.01.2001 19:53
Well constructed opinion. I quite like the Guardian and buy it now again, but you are right they do pander to their readers views, similar to the Daily Mail but maybe not as self-righteous. A very good point. As for the news coverage, I think they cover more than the Daily Mail on average, but I cannot compare them to other broadsheets as I don't read them often enough.
LostWitness 09.01.2001 12:07
Imogen - thanks for your comments on my Bristol opinion. Nope - not a student but have been living in Bristol
for a few years now.
The Guardian offers satisfying entertainment with a no-nonsense combination of Hollywood ... more
formula and good old-fashioned star power. While honouring the men and women who serve as rescue swimmers for the U.S. Coast Guard, this predictable yet appealing drama is a well-crafted showcase for Kevin Costner and Ashton Kutcher, who bring welcome depth and dimension to their formulaic roles. It's basically Top Gun for the Coast Guard, with Costner playing a legendary rescuer haunted by recent tragedy and the impending break-up of his marriage, and Kutcher as the hot-shot recruit whose bravado is tested when Costner takes over a grueling 18-week basic training course, where a 50% attrition rate ensures that only the best will make the grade. There's nothing particularly inventive about Ron L. Brinkerhoff's screenplay, but it's intelligently written and well-directed (by The Fugitive helmsman Andrew Davis) as it shows how seasoned veteran and troubled but talented trainee build mutual respect while sorting through the trauma of accidents that left each of them as sole survivors, tormented by self-doubt and guilt. Bolstered by a strong supporting cast including Neal McDonough, John Heard, Sela Ward and Clancy Brown, The Guardian is a bit on the long side (137 minutes), but it never feels slow, and a romantic subplot (with Kutcher wooing a schoolteacher played by Melissa Sagemiller) blends nicely with thrilling ocean-rescue sequences--incorporating a seamless blend of CGI and footage shot in a 750,000-gallon water tank. Music fans will welcome the scene-stealing appearance of veteran singer Bonnie Bramlett as the owner of a jazz/blues club near the training base, where The Guardian serves up yet another staple of its genre: the barroom brawl. Although Hurricane Katrina prevented The Guardian from being filmed in New Orleans in 2005, real-life footage during the closing credits makes it clear that the Coast Guard was essential in Katrina's aftermath, and this rousing drama pays overdue tribute to those who risk there lives (to quote the Coast Guard's motto) "so that others may live." --Jeff Shannon