News: in print, on the Web, on a mobile device

I’ve been thinking about how we read the news, and how the “device” we use affects how much we read. And that affects how much we learn about the world.

I think that reading news in print is better than reading online. Here are two important reasons:

  1. Getting hooked by a story. Look at a printed page, and you get a lot of information; not so online. The extra text in print can get my attention, even if the headline doesn’t. And paging through the paper provides a backup — when I get to the jump page, sometimes the continuation of the story gets my attention, even if the first view of it didn’t. The homepage and section homepages online generally have a headline and a sentence or two; that’s not always enough to draw me in to a story.
  2. Is this new news or old news? Today’s print paper is today’s paper. Today’s online newspaper is a mix of new stories and old. I was shocked one time to find that I was starting to read a story from a couple of months earlier.

Here are some examples from a recent day’s news. Click an image to blow it up, but look from this bird’s-eye view first and get an idea of how much information each medium initially provides. I think that’s important.

This is not meant to be exhaustive, nor scientific. But you have to start somewhere. What  do you think about reading online vs reading print, especially for news?

The New York Times. Available in these formats: A new Web app. The Web site offers two versions: one is current news, I believe, while the other is the day’s print paper online. The Times Reader app may no longer be supported, but it was when I captured these images.

New York Times Web app

New York Times Web app

New York Times.com Web site- iPhone

New York Times.com Web site- iPhone

New York Times.com - Today's paper - iPhone

New York Times.com – Today’s paper – iPhone

New York Times Reader

New York Times Reader

New York Times front page - print

New York Times front page – print

New York Times daily email

New York Times daily email



The Boston Globe. At the time of these screen captures, there was a Web site, an app and the print version.

Boston Globe.com - iPhone

Boston Globe.com – iPhone

Boston Globe.com

Boston Globe.com

Boston Globe front page

Boston Globe front page in print

Boston Globe app

Boston Globe app



The Boston Herald. This is unique because readers see more information with the online front pages than in print.

Boston Herald front page, print

Boston Herald front page, print

Boston Herald app, iPhone

Boston Herald app, iPhone

Boston Herald.com

Boston Herald.com

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