An avid reader writes

I like the redesigned Globe and Mail. Somewhere there’s a black-and-white photo of me, aged about six, crouched on the kitchen floor reading the Globe, spread out before me, so I’ve seen a few designs come and go.

This was not one of the usual rejigs, where sans serif type was switched to serif and a few column rules were dropped in where they didn’t exist before. No, this was the biggest upheaval I can recall.

Even so, there were those who dismissed last Friday’s launch as being derivative of The Guardian. All those naysayers were blown out of their snooty baths by the Saturday front that looked like an electrified pinball machine.

But will there be enough to read? Clearly, there is less than before. I’m glad to see features like Greg Keenan’s tad-too-long Saturday piece on Bombardier and Andy Hoffman’s excellent investigation today about how Investment Canada changes takeover rules to suit the foreign buyer.

However, I’m not a fan of foolish full-page graphs like yesterday’s ROB explanation of bank market share. The feature could have been done with a much smaller bar chart, leaving plenty of room for another well-written story.

But I’m afraid good writing no longer matters as it once did. Rick Salutin’s Friday op-ed column was axed because, he was told, “You don’t fit the redesign.” In the 1980s, when I was at Maclean’s, Editor Peter C. Newman ran Barbara Amiel’s column arguing that she needed to be heard as a rare right-wing voice.

Thirty years later, with the pendulum swung in favor of conservatives, Salutin was one of the last left-wing columnists in Canada. That alone should have been sufficient reason for him to continue.

But, as Jason McBride says in Toronto Life, the Globe used to be a writer’s paper, then it became an editor’s paper, and now it is a designer’s paper. And, I might add, an advertiser’s paper. On many pages of the new Globe, the most compelling presentation is the ad, just like the publisher would prefer. In such a format, the Globe cares less and less about the avid reader, kitchen floor or otherwise.

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