The Globe and Mail Blew It

For several days they led us on. They promised a “new Globe and Mail,” presumably with new content, format and style that would befit Canada’s national newspaper. When they began to put out the promos, I was intrigued. Other news media are whining the blues. What was the Globe and Mail going to do to meet the current “crisis in journalism” and keep us reading from coast to coast?

When the first of “the new” publication arrived last week, I was horrified. What have they done? Who do they think they are publishing for? I am 73 years old, read three newspapers every day, and consider myself relatively well-informed about Canadian politics and public life. Most of the young people I know no longer read newspapers in hard copy. If they read any newspaper at all, it’s on the internet.

We pre-baby boomers, and baby boomers, too, are accustomed to our old habits, welcome the arrival of the newspaper on our doorstep (or outside our hotel room) each morning, and enjoy the luxury of being able to read it through with our coffee, at leisure. We may not represent the far distant future but, for the moment, and perhaps because of inertia, we may well be the primary demographic which continues to have all-week newspaper subscriptions in hard copy.

Now I can’t even read the Globe and Mail. Literally, I can’t read it. And I am not the only one. My husband and several friends have had the same reaction.

In the interests of what I assume is saving money, they have made the newspaper smaller in size, and apparently changed the font and/or lightened the type. The smaller size I can live with; it’s easier to fold into my purse or briefcase to take on public transit. The new font and/or typeface, however, is positively illegible. It gives me a headache to look at it, and more of a headache to read.

In an age when everyone (and I mean most everyone, including us old duffers) is using mobile devices and iPads with multiple fonts and expandable print capacities, it is positively counter-intuitive that a major newspaper seeking to expand its readership would go to print with what can only be considered a “reader-adverse” font and/or typeface. Who chose it? Someone under 60, I bet.

Since I started writing my blog, I mine the Globe and Mail, National Post and the Toronto Star (when in Toronto), and the Vancouver Sun (when in Vancouver) for potential topics of interest for a post. It takes up time, but I try to go through each newspaper daily. Each has its strengths and weaknesses. And apart from different perspectives, I like to pick up on quirky articles which alert me to something that I knew nothing about before.

In the past, I always went to the Globe and Mail first. Why? Because it’s “the national newspaper,” because I know people who write for it, and, although I do not always agree with its editorial perspective, at least I can expect competent coverage of major issues.

Now, it is too painful to read. As of last week, I now start with the National Post, or the Toronto Star, skim their coverage, and then pick up the Globe. But it’s so difficult to read beyond the headlines that I tend not to read it in detail. I make no comment on the new organization and content of the “new Globe and Mail” because the new font and/or typeface have deterred me from reading it further.

It has occurred to me that perhaps the powers that be at the Globe and Mail really do want to drive us all onto the internet. Make your hard copy inaccessible and subscribers will give up.



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  1. Deborah W

    Thank you Marian – we have a conspiracy theory that the Globe has an in with Lenscrafters etc because i suddenly seem to need stronger reading glasses. Reading in bed with the Globe used to be a pleasure – now all we do is complain – the thrill is gone! I know I can read the digital copy but I cannot do the cryptic digitally and I actually like to hold a newspaper. It has been on my to do list since December first to write the powers that be chez Globe and let them know how unhappy we are. Simon loves to read the sports stats and they really are illegible.

    • Marion Lane

      I wondered about that but the illegibility appears to be a general problem. Bill has no problem with cataracts. Neither do his friends who are complaining. Numerous of my readers say they are finding it equally difficult to read. One said she will need new reading glasses. Another is just going to stop subscribing.

      • Sara

        Maybe until they increase font size back to normal you could use some of the “cheater” magnifying glasses from the pharmacy. And let your opinion be known in their social media!

  2. Cheryl R

    Thank you! Marian! As my sister DW, I like to hold my newspaper in my hands. My upcoming “Vacation hold” will become a “Termination Notice”. Today is Wednesday when I would frequently find interesting business/investment articles. Not sure how I am going to fill the gap! With the world in chaos currently, I limit myself to one TV daily news show so at least I am informed. Netflix is thriving in this environment where those of us who are lucky enough to have access can chose what and when we watch.

  3. Justus H.

    I don’t think there’s any doubt they would like to dump their paper edition. However, the digital edition is less expensive, and the reader can readily alter the type size. A standard iPad would be ideal; as noted in my blog, I can help you if you insist on your laptop. And Bill already has a Kindle, which is another simple option. As you know, I got used to reading the digital edition very quickly! (And — not to defend them — the Globe is still the only national Canadian paper which actually delivers a national perspective.)

  4. William H.

    A totally poor redesign. The paper went from a classic read with nice fonts with an exceptional layout into a tabloid-like version. Don’t know the reason anything had to be changed as the previous design was a real “winner” among the choices of hard copies to choose from. Like other people have mentioned, I still prefer to hold a hard copy of the paper in my hands and really looked forward to reading my daily Globe. Based on what people seem to be feeling maybe this poor corporate decision will be revisited before they loose even more readership. W Hanley, Barrie Ontario


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