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2007 10 28
Why I Am Cancelling My Globe And Mail Subscription And Why You Should Too*

Reason number one: The Environment
Every two weeks we drag a blue box full of newsprint out to the street so it can be recycled. Given the near ubiquity of Internet access in Canadian homes, do we really need paper-based news any more? I don't think so. By cancelling my Globe and Mail subscription I'll save tons of CO2 over the coming years--not to mention dozens of trees. Still, many readers say they prefer getting their news on paper. It's easier to read . . . Well, that's changing. More and more people are getting their news online. You should too:
Q4 online newspaper readership during 2006 reached a record 57.6 million monthly unique visitors, the most since the Newspaper Association of America (NAA) started recording the data 3 years ago, according to figures released by Nielsen//NetRatings.
One other thing has bothered me. I have repeatedly asked the Globe's subscription service to have the paper put in our mail box rather than thrown on the porch wrapped in a plastic bag. After more than a year of asking, we still get it tightly packaged in that grey plastic wrapper. Frustrating.


Reason number two: Almost No Content
The Globe trumpeted its evolving redesign in Saturday's paper:
"Two main objectives have guided us: to introduce new ideas and perspectives, and to provide advice and suggestions to help readers more easily navigate the endless array of choices in front of them. In so doing, we aim to make the paper smarter, more accessible, more visual and more integrated with the Web."
There was a time when the Globe thought its readers were well educated. It assumed that they needed in-depth reporting in order to understand the complex issues of the day. With a few exceptions, that faith in the intelligence of Canadians has disappeared from the increasingly narrow and vacant pages of the Globe. Take a look at the paper's front page. It used to be dense with information. Now? The above picture is of yesterday's Globe--how is it more integrated with the web? I do not see the connection unless they believe the web is a vacuous digital abyss.


Reason number three: The Ads
I can't remember seeing so many full page ads in a national newspaper before. When ads take up more space than content, it is easy to decide that as a subscriber you are paying advertisers to give them access to your precious time. I hang up on annoying tele-marketers. Now I am hanging up on the Globe.


Reason number four: Canadian Fairness
In that uniquely Canadian way, I thought our country stood for a global ideal of fairness and equity no matter who a person was and where they came from. Maybe that identity is a self-serving myth held over from growing up during the Trudeau years, but it is one I am comfortable with. I don't get that sense of fairness when I read the Globe's editorial pages these days. The fear-driven 'dogs of war" seem to have had their way in the paper's editorial room. When did Canada's national newspaper decide we are a country that ignores the human rights of one nation in favour of those of another? When did it decide that the ideals that launched the United Nations were "quaint?" Pearson would be ashamed.

What are our options?
The Internet is a endless resource for news, information, and opinion from all sides of the political and social spectrum. Make it your friend. The multitude of sources can be daunting, but with a good RSS reader (like Google's) in hand you will soon be getting your news straight-up and without the environmental destruction of paper-based media. For example, do you want Toronto political news? Take a look at http://www.spacing.ca for a change. How about Canadian political news? Here is a list of sources from del-icio-us: http://del.icio.us/search/?fr=del_icio_us&p=canada+politics&type=all There are non-print options to "Canada's national newspaper." It is time to try them.

*I write a column on architecture in the National Post on occasion--my opinions could be biased.
[email this story] Posted by R Ouellette on 10/28 at 01:00 PM

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