Last evening, after a pretty trying day, I spoiled myself by sitting down in a quiet room and reading the newspaper. For someone who usually only finds time to scan a website, it was a real treat. The Isle of Man Examiner is still published as a broadsheet, and I spread the pages out and thoroughly enjoyed myself as I ruffled and turned them and took in stories of every description from all over the Island.
You don’t often get to see a 36 point headline on a website. You miss many of the colour stories and much of the comment, With search you see only what you are looking for and inevitably you miss out on a lot. You don’t get to see how the editor has organised the page to give prominence to one story or another; you rarely look outside your own world. And for all the crowing I do about the long tail and the future of online, this is surely a great weakness of this media.
The people at the Isle of Man Newspapers tread a fine line in reporting on a community of which they are an important part. Each week, three times a week, they publish news, information and opinion of interest to the whole of the community and at the same time they carry enough specialist information to satisfy most individuals on the Island.
You can’t please all of the people all of the time, it’s true. But I think on the whole, Isle of Man newspapers usually gets its story mix right. News publishing is a tough, increasingly competitive business and much respect is due to professionals at our newspaper for their efforts in reflecting our community.
At the very least, I thank them for providing me an enjoyable read last night.
Full disclosure: I write a weekly column, Tech Talk, in the Isle of Man Examiner. This comment does not relate to my own copy. (I’d already read that!) 🙂