NO SOONER HAD the Wall Street Journal earned the highest regards from these quarters for their splendid ‘hedcut‘ portrait of the Generalissimo (on the front page, and above the fold, no less!) than their stock immediately plummeted in normal daytime trading on the Cusack Exchange. The best and most admirable feature of the financial-and-more paper is its splendidly broad size, in complete repudiation of the tabloid mentality. It has dignity, refinement, and gravitas. And so it must go. Newsdesigner reports that the Journal will be trimming its broadness to a much narrower, uglier size. The idea is to save newsprint, and thus cut costs, but the result is a disgrace. A sense of proper proportion is sacrificed to the gods of the balance sheet. Hmmm… where have we heard this before? The New York Observer trimmed its size, again without any regard for proportion, and the result was most poor. I bought it once after the changeover and never since.
Narrow broadsheets are not only a contradiction in terms, they are exceptionally irritating to read. The Berliner size of the Guardian, Le Figaro, and other papers is a handy, convenient size, and of a very comely proportion. The normal broadsheet of the Daily Telegraph, the current Wall Street Journal, and the Scotsman in its pre-tabloid days exudes soundness, reliance, and dignity. But ungainly tabloids and these new narrow broadsheets ought to be relegated to the dustbin of dodgy newspaper ideas.