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Times, Post, Monitor
For a long time, I have wanted a weekly newspaper that was more courteously laid out than the dailies and somewhat enriched in what had turned out to be important & what had turned out to be true.  For most of my life, the Sunday New York Times Section 4 more or less served that purpose, but as time wore on it contained less & less news and more & more feuilletons.  In December 1994 I gave up the Times in a huff after working my way thru a particularly vilely laid-out issue of its magazine, and subscribed to the Washington Post National Weekly Edition.  It had little advertising, which meant it could treat its readers like customers instead of merchandise.  There were no jumps --- if an article continued, it was always on the next page; only, if it did not fill that page, it went at the bottom, so that a new article could always begin at the top of a page.  That satisfied the designers' esthetics & was easy to get used to.  As you would expect, it was somewhat heavy on politics & was written in journalese, but on the whole its coverage was broad & fair.  It had sections on science & on books (coyly headed "Science Lab" & "Book World").  The table of contents was easily accessible.

In October 2009, it abruptly ceased publication.  I later found out, thru a Post ombudsman on the Web, that the decision had been announced in August --- but not in the Washington Post National Weekly Edition.  When I stopped getting it, I supposed I had carelessly let my subscription lapse, so I went to the weekly's home page, which still existed.  There was, however, no announcement there either; to find out what had happened, I had to try to renew, whereupon I was told at last that I could not.  According to the ombudsman, the circulation had dropped by an order of magnitude; evidently the market for such a thing is dying.

In the meantime, the Christian Science Monitor (which, under the influence of some long-lost friends, I always call the Chri Sci Monster) had converted itself to a weekly, so I am trying that.  It is more like a magazine --- glossy, and a lot of color.  Like the Post, it has little advertising & is tolerably courteous.  Most articles occupy one page, and the ones that spill over do so to the next page, but with the ominous warning "Continues on next page":  They're not guaranteeing that that is the default.  Sure enough, there are often largish sidebars in the way.  When the layout people expect us to read those interruptions is not clear --- never, probably.

As you would expect from the source, the content is as relentlessly cheerful as the news allows, but I prefer that bias to the shock shlock of standard journalism.  Only one little editorial in each issue makes reference to Christian Science.

It does the job.  We'll see how long it lasts.


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