If you are a newspaper junky, and especially if you follow the development of on-line journalism, it’s well worth your time to take a look at the new electronic version of the Arizona Daily Star.
I can’t think of any other papers that are presenting this way and I think it’s terrific. Until the end of the year you’ll be able to sign on for free but after that a subscription will cost you just what subscribing to the dead tree edition costs.
In itself I think that this attempt to charge for what the New York Times and other major daily papers give away on line is interesting. If you subscribe this way you see exactly what dead tree subscribers see…all the stories, all the ads, all the photos, the TV Guide, the obits, the comics, the want ads, laid out on each page just as they appear in the paper edition.
You leaf through the paper page by page, or skip to your favorite section. Click on a story and that story pops up on the right side of your computer screen in an easy-to-read text version with photos or graphics at the bottom.
To me the value of this is that I can read the paper, scanning page by page, exactly the way I read it at my breakfast table. I find that reading this way I miss a whole lot less than when I try to read the current e-version. For one thing you scan the whole first paragraph of a story and any photos or graphics catch your eye. When you’re through with the news you can read the funnies or check the TV listings.
In the end the great advantage of this new version is that it is uncluttered. The current (free) version of the Star on line is such a visual hodge-podge, filled with distracting visual snippets, mostly ads and promos, that it is painfully distracting to look at.
Of course in the new version you will not be able to comment rancorously on stories that offend you as you can in the current version. I love the new look and think it’s an interesting experiment, but for the same price I think I’ll stick with the dead tree edition.
To take a look at the E-Edition click here. Sign on as “Star,” password “Free Trial”