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The “new look” Guardian launches today but will anything actually change?


The Guardian re-invented itself today. Well, it changed its print format to tabloid and gave itself an online face-lift involving brightly-coloured menu and a new logo. Katharine Viner, editor-in-chief has an editorial announcing and explaining the changes which is not only embarrassingly self-aggrandising but also unintentionally revealing. She says:

We have grounded our new editions in the qualities readers value most in Guardian journalism: clarity, in a world where facts should be sacred but are too often overlooked; imagination, in an age in which people yearn for new ideas and fresh alternatives to the way things are….We have thought carefully about how our use of typography, colour and images can support and enhance Guardian journalism.

Indeed, colour and typography are the first things we look for in good journalism. But she continues:

The masthead has a renewed strength and confidence to represent the Guardian’s place and mission in these challenging times. Guardian journalism itself will remain what it has always been: thoughtful, progressive, fiercely independent and challenging; and also witty, stylish and fun

If this sounds a little hysterical and over-compenatory it’s probably because it is. The facelift is a misdirected response to the Guardian’s fast-shrinking readership and even faster-shrinking credibility as a news source. In a neoliberal world where ‘reality’ is devolving into a series of fact-free assertions, and packaging replaces content, then maybe a new font can be seen as a solution to a serious existential problem. But all this re-launch really does is illustrate the chasm that currently separates the Guardian from its readership and indeed the media class in general from – everyone else.

The fact Viner believes “renewed confidence” can be asserted by a new masthead is no more bizarre than her claim the Guardian’s copy remains “thoughtful, progressive, fiercely independent and challenging.” It all displays the same disconnect from veridical reality that brought them to this crisis in the first place.

Let’s remind Katharine and her team that people are not deserting the Guardian because the print edition is too big or because the hyperlinks weren’t colourful enough. They are quitting in droves because the newspaper no longer seems to respect the basic tenets of journalism. They are sickened by the too-obvious adherence to an agenda that is frankly imperialist and by the consistent suppression of facts and opinions that run counter to that agenda. They are shocked and appalled by the blatant association with propagandist outlets which the Guardian reveals through its ‘New East Network’ section, which – shockingly – includes the CIA-founded Radio Free Europe.

screen cap from a 2014 Guardian article which makes it clear Radio Free Europe (RFE) is a part of its New East Network. The Guardian is a little shy of openly admitting this connection in recent times

The fact the Guardian is re-publishing articles from RFE and Interpreter Magazine, the fact it routinely endorses and publicises the opinions of a discredited war criminal such as Tony Blair, the fact it is shrinking its (ironically named?) “Comment is Free” section, censoring comment and banning commenters, the fact it publishes poorly-researched and dishonest hit pieces about serious journalists and denies them a platform to reply – these are the reasons it is losing relevance and traction.

Until it addresses these issues it will continue to haemorrhage readers and income, even in its new clothes.

If anyone would like to share these or other thoughts on their re-launch with the Guardian you can email them at new.guardian@theguardian.com


59 Comments

  1. the Granuiad is the worst of all possible worlds in UK journalistics – it patronises as well as makes you feel uncomfortable – it is the complete hellhole of fake news – it is nothing it claims to be – a zioangloamerican support system of the worst kind because it believes its own hype

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The Cad says

    Now that the Graun looks like the Inderelictependent, will it be sold to a gangster (allegedly)?

    Like

  3. Manda says

    I haven’t ventured to look at the tabloid Guardian but am aware Mason’s weekly column has been dropped. I also note he is now a self declared anti Imperialist. I will take a passing interest as to the form his anti Imperialism takes.

    Like

  4. Diogenes says

    Ive pulled them up on the ‘independent journalism’ claim thats false advertising

    Like

    • Better report them to the Department of Fair Trading or Consumer Affairs, whatever it’s called in your city – oh wait, is the Department of Fair Trading really all that concerned with “fair trading” where you are?!

      😦

      Like

  5. George Cornell says

    The new look might have been more credible had it consisted of up to date photos of the apparently vain Viner and Freedland, among others. How old is the Viner photo in which she looks like a schoolgirl?

    Like

  6. Dafydd ap Robart says

    Appalling re-design. Looks like it was produced by someone learning to use a Mac in the 80’s (that awkward shift over from System 8 to 9). Masthead/logo looks like something from a 1950’s US business magazine and not in a good ironic ‘retro’ way. And don’t get me started on the pointless ruled lines and dingbats…

    The first rule of design is – form follows function. Decoration is flimflam.

    Like

    • The Cad says

      It’s an inderelictependent lookalike; all infant school bright colours and vacuous press releases.

      Like

  7. Simon Roberts says

    I accidentally visited the Guardian website last week because Drudge linked to an article.

    First thing I see – an article that says (paraphrasing) “if you are white and sleep with black women you are racist because your are ‘fetishizing'”.

    I give up. I seriously give up.

    Like

    • Thomas Peterson says

      The redesign is ugly and tough on the eyes. The site looks like some crappy blog or Buzzfeed or something. No gravitas.

      They have also closed comments on just about everything.

      Way to go Guardian.

      Like

  8. Thomas Peterson says

    Hmm. Looks pretty tacky frankly. It was way better before.

    No need for all the headlines in screaming red.

    Like

  9. Frank says

    “The man who never looks into a newspaper is better informed than he who reads them, inasmuch as he who knows nothing is nearer to truth than he whose mind is filled with falsehoods and errors. He who reads nothing will still learn the great facts, and the details are all false.” ~Thomas Jefferson to John Norvell, 1807

    I never actually read the Graun anymore. I don’t want my intelligence insulted first thing in the morning. That the Guardian is a pillar of the status quo should be axiomatic. No-one should be fooled by their ‘caring’ cosmetic, pity the poor, image. Doubtless, they imagine themselves like Roland at the pass Roncevaux defending Christendom against the barbarians; but when push comes to shove they know on which side their real loyalties lie. They are the outer-party, the defenders of the faith not unlike the church in the middle ages. The powers spiritual supporting the powers temporal. The sort of mealy-mouthed liberals whom Orwell described as being against rats and rat-poison. As a class group journalists occupy a middle stratum between the monied class and the working class. They neither own nor work the means of production, they are a floating stratum (sorry about the mixed metaphor) who can lend their support to either, but, generally speaking, their support usually goes to the ruling stratum which they loyally serve. These servants of the power have been called out on more than one occasion by inter alia Noam Chomsky, and Christopher Hedges.

    Our times are characterized by a Manichean duality of ‘right thoughts’ and ‘wrong thoughts’ as defined by the liberal intelligentsia. Dangerous thoughts are those which a society, OR THE CONTROLLING ELEMENTS IN IT, believe to be so vital and hence so sacred that they will not tolerate their profanation by discussion. Essentially the whole ideological position of the liberal class follows along the lines of utopia realized, or if not realized, then on the way to being realized. Pax Americana and the end of history thesis. This begs a number of questions:

    “First, [Pax Americana] presupposes that the US has the economic strength to support the imperial role it entails. Second, it assumes that the US has the will to sustain it. Third, it requires that the rest of the world be ready to accept it. It is questionable whether any of these conditions can be met.” (John Gray – False Dawns)

    Liked by 1 person

  10. rtj1211 says

    I think there is something about those who play the game which means when they reach the top they have lost sight of reality, because the rules of advancement meant that winning, whatever that might be, was more important.

    I have found that in science research, management consultancy and political parties, amongst other things.

    No-one in Britain has found a way to self finance a truthful newspaper, as advertisers want deluded puppies as fodder, not critical, skeptical, analytical thinkers.

    It can be the same with blogs: WUWT went from a pure climate skeptic blog to a Republican/Tea Party cheer leader quite soon after it was getting quite a bit of advertising…..a shame, as when it sticks to its original goals it publishes quite a lot of high quality stuff….

    Like

    • UK Column is a crowdfunded local newspaper that is now national and international via the internet. They produce more insightful news per five minutes than the lugenpresse Guardian produce year on year.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Notallthere says

      I’m not sure that’s the cause of the problems we see in The Guardian.

      I don’t think many of the current batch of opinion writers had to sell-out: they were chosen because they were like that anyway and never had any ‘sight of reality’ to lose in the first place. Many of them seem to be mini versions of Viner, from an identical background, and thus unsurprisingly they all churn out near identical copy expressing exactly the same opinions because being conformists (or ‘fashionable’ contrarians) those are the opinions they and the people in their immediate circle always had. It is genuinely inconceivable to them to think differently. In fact they give every impression of writing just for themselves and each other as that type of person is The Guardian’s target audience now, whilst everybody else are somehow lesser beings to be simply hectored into believing ‘what is right’, that is if they are considered at all.

      As an example I personally am mystified about why Hadley Freeman gets to write a column as she knows nothing, does nothing and seemingly has indeed never done anything in her life except go on expensive holidays and then have twins whilst staying at home with this writing gig. When she writes about the UK it’s clear she has no real idea about the country, and when she writes invective about the Middle East it’s purely an expression of the prejudices she grew up with, and you can almost smell her desperation to come up with something to say each week as she has nothing to draw upon. But yet I consider her a perfect illustration of the above situation as she is obviously considered safe and they believe she has a connection with The Guardian’s target audience for no other reason than she is one of them.

      Consider how many talented and interesting people The Guardian could engage from differing backgrounds to write challenging and stimulating comment pieces, even within the constraints of ‘toeing the line’ on whatever GCHQ, Soros etc tell them, but then look at who they have instead.

      Liked by 2 people

      • bevin says

        “In fact they give every impression of writing just for themselves and each other as that type of person is The Guardian’s target audience now..”
        That’s it. And the problem is that, unlike their contemporaries, they have learned nothing from the serial discrediting of everything they learned to be true at University and in their social circles. The Guardian and opinion-mongering insulated them from the bracing winds of experience. They had no reason to cease believing in New Labour or neo-liberalism- they were not unemployed, disabled, reliant on Trade Union protection, they never went to war, their voices were never drowned out by authoritarianism, their communities were never attacked by wahhabi militias trailing white helmets, their pensions were never burned up by crooked businessmen, their land and water was never stolen from them by immigrant settlers claiming to be the long lost proprietors back after 2000 years in Europe and America..
        While the world learned, the hard way, The Guardian’s pundits became the Bourbons of print.

        Like

      • George Cornell says

        When it became clear that the main goal of an HF column was to name drop the important people she knew, I took more interest temporarily. There had to be a reason for her column beyond the self-indulgent gossip, always showing her in a good light. But I could not find it.

        I thought she belonged to the same cadre as Jessica NoTalenti, struggling to find a topic not already covered that day by one of the many other genderistas at the Fraudian.

        Like

  11. Keep going, Guardian, in your new direction and you might find yourselves a new target audience … readers of the Australian Women’s Weekly, New Idea and Woman’s Day.

    Like

  12. Notallthere says

    They are clearly off to a good start: the new-look Guardian banned me today!

    I won’t be going back. The hideous typefont and colour-scheme just underline what a travesty the paper has become.

    They had more articles open to comments than usual today and it was refreshing to see that they were taking a hit in the BTL in all of them. It’s pretty clear that they’ve lost whatever argument they think they have and that they have no credibility outside the very small demographic they are now playing to. My banning after 11 years of commenting there illustrates that any thoughts they might have had of turning over a new leaf are not going to last long and that in reality the public schoolboys and public schoolgirls running it are as intolerent of diversity of viewpoint as they were yesterday when it still had the old look.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Any newspaper that censors comments and bans people for reasons outside inappropriate behaviour has no credibility – so none of them do, of course. It’s only alternative media (such as this one, thank God!) that don’t do it, and not always in their case either.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Notallthere says

        I don’t know specifically why I was banned. I’ve had quite a few posts deleted by them recently which were critical of the paper itself. After the latest deletion I found they had blocked me from commenting. I suppose they just got sick of me. Maybe the consequences of today’s brief ‘Prague Spring’, where they opened more than the now-usual number of articles to comment, caused a backlash amongst the ‘hardliners’ on the editorial board and some of the troublemakers were rounded-up? 🙂

        I can’t pretend there was any love lost between us: I guess it would be called ‘Irreconcilable Differences’ if it were a relationship. I’ve been reading the paper for a very long time and even got a letter published once back before they had a website and buying the newspaper was the only way of reading it, but sadly things aren’t what they once were.

        Liked by 2 people

        • Martyn Wood-Bevan says

          I got banned for mentioning that Jonathan Freedland was a Zionist and had a vested interest in attacking Corbyn.

          Like

          • Notallthere says

            I once left a comment in The Guardian under one of his anti-Corbyn rants which was just a link to the “Friends who are Enemies” hatchet-job he penned in the Jewish Chronicle where he pretty much admits, albeit in the third person and with a rather disingenuous disclaimer at the end, why he dislikes Corbyn (exactly the reason you mention)
            https://www.thejc.com/comment/columnists/friends-who-are-enemies-1.58411
            It got deleted pretty quickly (maybe by Freedland himself?) but my account survived on that occasion.

            However I stopped clicking on his Guardian articles some time back, partly because there is nothing worth reading in them but also because I didn’t want to contribute to any statistics suggesting his rubbish was being noticed by people.

            Numerous times I got comments deleted in The Guardian which would only contain a link to an earlier story published in the same newspaper, but that contradicted the narrative of the current article. The moderation (sic) there really is quite surreal.

            Like

            • George Cornell says

              Completely agree
              My favourite deletions were when I mentioned that gene expression studies had shown that every brain cell differed in a gender-specific way and gave the link to the paper in Nature Neuroscience which showed this. Not good enough for the gender politics at the Guardian.

              And for pointing out that Polalanski had done more than “have illegal sex” , the Guardian and Freedland’s euphemism for Polanski having plied 13 year old Samantha Geimer with alcohol and quaaludes and having raped and sodomised her.

              In another, I quoted Polanski’s infamous statement about how all judges wanted to f*** young girls. Also deleted, but easily accessible.

              Like

              • That is a good one.

                Two of my bans were because I was trying to teach them evolutionary biology and the gender studies graduates who are most likely staffing the moderator teams would have none of it.

                The very mention of the word “sexual dimorphism” would lead to an automatic deletion.

                Like

      • It is usually not for a single comment that they ban you, at least not back in the days.

        I think I was banned three times, and on each occasion it went like this:

        You get a lot of comments deleted for no reason
        They put you on pre-mod
        On pre-mod they have to approve your comments before they appear, they keep rejecting a lot of them
        Eventually you get banned

        It might have happened for a single comment to other people, but in my experience this is the more common pattern — it just becomes clear that you are not susceptible to reeducation and then you get the ban hammer.

        Liked by 1 person

        • A bit like Quora I think. I got banned but it wasn’t for one post. Quora tolerates 9/11 questions and answers – there’s probably hundreds of them – but when you talk about RIGHT-NOW false flags, they’re beyond the pale. Of course, conspiracies have only ever occurred at least 20 years ago, right? They couldn’t possibly be happening right now, at least, not among the power elite in Western countries.

          Like

          • Harry Stotle says

            What is doubly annoying is the sanctimonious tone the Guardian adopts, but only after real journalists have unearthed the very stories one would have thought a supposedly left of centre newspaper would be most interested in.

            For example, the Guardian big guns have all got 9/11 horribly, horribly wrong.
            Evidence undermining the official conspiracy theory is overwhelming yet no-one seems to have the slightest interest in reporting on it, while censoring those who highlight endless disrepencies.

            So why is that the Guardian is forever lecturing readers about imperial crimes from ye olden days while ignoring those committed today?
            I mean what really is the most important issue here; the statue of Cecil Rhodes at Oxford which, of course invokes high levels of Guardian outrage, or the cholera epidemic in Yemen (ie the latest chapter in the war on terror) which, if the Guardian is anything to go, by is completely disconnected from the neocons who orchestrated 9/11.

            Liked by 2 people

            • George Cornell says

              It is very hard to make much sense of the Guardian now. At least the endless stories about Nazi gold, Hitler gold, Nazi art and Hitler art have stopped more or less but the hectoring lifestyle-what to think or do-advisories continue. I suggested that the word ‘must’ be deleted from their headers and that many readers preferred to make up their own minds based on the evidence rather than diktats from Jonathan Freedland. Deleted of course.

              I cannot imagine a single heart or soul being swayed by advice from their tedious Stepford Wifely columnists, out of ideas, with very small tanks, doctrinaire ex cathedra pronouncements, nearly all marching in unison.

              I think the paper started to go into terminal decline several years ago and has never recovered the credibility lost with their cowardly approach to Israel and their manic support of Hillary, Tony Blair and other assorted vermin.

              Liked by 1 person

              • Harry Stotle says

                The Guardian certainly knows how to test the affections of its readership.

                It has a couple of things go for it though – some great regulars BTL.
                For example, I think Kit commented today? – saying “Did the Crimeans wants their “land grab” “headed off”? Because when you think about it, what you’re actually describing is sending British special forces somewhere they’re not wanted in order to escalate violence in a place where non-existed.”
                https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/jan/19/nuclear-weapons-uk-defence-review-russia#comments

                And by virtue of the simple fact Britains MSM is so poisonous and extreme just about any alternative, even alternatives with obvious weaknesses has to be an improvement.

                Like

            • George Cornell says

              The crimes they dwell on are remarkably ethnocentric. Never a mention of the 20 million exterminated by Leopold of Belgium and his men in the Congo in the late 19th and early 20th c.. This number, which dwarfs the gays, Jews and unionists who were killed in WWII, is possibly at the top of genocidal enterprises. But never a mention in the Fraudian. Similarly the role of the English in New World slavery also seems nearly unmentionable. Rich for a paper sanctimoniously urging others to confront their pasts.

              I put this in a post sans calling them “the Fraudian”, and I got the reply that it happened more than a hundred years ago (sic). They did not like my use of the word dwarf but since the commonest kinds of dwarfism have individuals no less than half the size of adults the proportions seem a propos.

              Liked by 1 person

        • sabelmouse says

          this time i was banned without warning/premod. just wham. the time before it only lasted 3 days. now it’s been since before xmas and i can’t seem to delete my account either. something keeps going wrong.
          i don’t think i even want to comment anymore, it’s so stupid now.

          Like

  13. Style over substance?

    I find that what you have to say is more important than typography.

    When it’s all about presentation and not content you realise that the tabloid is merely a placebo.

    Like

  14. Deposited says

    What I find strange about Viner is that she co-wrote “My Name is Rachel Corrie”. I haven’t seen this play but surely anything that brings the name of Rachel Corrie (and her death) to the attention of the public is good. It would be a bit difficult for even the most ingenious hasbarist to avoid blaming Israel for what happened there. Apparently, as Editor-in-Chief of the Guardian she has sold out.

    Like

  15. We have grounded our new editions in the qualities readers value most in Guardian journalism: clarity, in a world where facts should be sacred but are too often overlooked; imagination, in an age in which people yearn for new ideas and fresh alternatives to the way things are….

    This is the kind of writing they teach at PR school. It’s full of cringeworthy, “profound” sounding cliches combined with ambiguous words and phrases that mean whatever each reader wants them to mean. eg. (“in a world where facts should be sacred” “in an age in which people yearn for new ideas” “imagination”, “fresh alternatives”)

    Many of them are downright nonsensical and even a bit sinister eg. “imagination”, “fresh alternatives”. Wait, I thought I was getting a reasonably accurate account of events, happenings and current affairs, you know, NEWS maybe even some FACTS. I get all the “fresh alternatives” I want at the fruit and veg market and if I want to stimulate my imagination I can listen to music, join an art class or take psychedelic drugs.

    I don’t need the Guardian to hold my hand, comfort me or tell me what to think. It is, or was, a newspaper not an overbearing lifestyle coach. Apparently Viner thinks her readers are hopelessly confused innocents in a world gone bad who would be forever lost were it not for the moral beacon that is the Guardian to illuminate the righteous, and right thinking, path they must follow if they are to be saved from the clutches and evil mind-control rays of Putin and his diabolical troll army.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Captain Kemlo says

      I find Viner unreadable. This sort of mogadon-heavy prose by an idiot editor is simply risible.

      Like

    • Harry Stotle says

      The Guardian’s style of journalism is redolent of a therapist who has spent years perfecting the art of looking concerned while trying to figure out a particulalry perplexing client.

      Head tilted to the side slightly, a wan smile, and obligatory, over-prolonged eye contact – in other words the kind of face that seems to saying ‘love me, or I will kill myself’.

      Like

      • George Cornell says

        You remind me of the adage that it is important for a physician to have a receding hairline and painful haemorrhoids. The former gives him a look of intelligence and the latter a look of concern, which the patient interprets as being in their behalf.

        Liked by 1 person

  16. Harry Stotle says

    I could hardly wait to peruse the re-booted Guardian.

    Fnally a left of centre news outlet prepared to admit complicity with passive acceptance of the 9/11 myth, a platform that no longer provides succour to imperial war criminals, or at least a credible news source offering incontrovertible proof that ‘the white helmets’ are not merely CIA stooges ……… sigh.

    Like

    • For some years one, I’ve been referring to it as the Libtardian.

      I know that “libtard” is an Americanism, not a totally accurate characterization of the paper’s political slant, and terribly un-PC, but it has a nice ring to it.

      Like

  17. This rebranding has reminded me of the continuous branding and rebranding of ISIS.

    First it was Islamic State of the Levant. Then Islamic State of Syria and Iraq. Then ISIS. Then Islamic State. Then Islamic State (formerly ISIS). Never before in history has a violent military group of terrorists or rebels rebranded itself so many times in just a few short years.

    Can one imagine Geo. Washington and Th. Jefferson and Jno. Hancock and Jno. Adams and the others putting their heads so often together to come up with yet another a new brand and logo? Or M. Robespierre or V. Lenin and Trotsky? Or the Barcelona and Scotland independence leaders?

    ISIS must have had big time access to a big time advertising, branding and public relations Madison Avenue-type outfit … and Big Bucks for all the brainstorming and “creative destruction” required — and apparently no focus groups given the repeated brands.

    One wonders what help the Mossad, CIA and Saudi branding and rebranding “assets” might have contributed to the repeated ISIS font changes. And now they are going to form a US-armed “border wall” between Turkey and Syria as well as regroup to Afghanistan to assist in the US / Israeli / Saudi invasion of Iran. What new brand will they come up with now? Inquiring minds want to know.

    Like

  18. sabelmouse says

    nope! it’ even more dumbed down and has reached 10% can be taken seriously at all level. my daughter might be right that buzzfeed is better t this stage.

    Like

  19. bevin says

    “..“thoughtful, progressive, fiercely independent and challenging.”
    The word that I relish most is that “fiercely’ -it gives the game away immediately because if there is one thing that the new lapdog of imperialism Guardian is not it is ‘independent.’
    As noted elsewhere the Guardian has thrown in its lot, lock stock and barrel, with the cause of US imperialist full spectrum dominance just as it becomes evident-to all but the densest among its readers- that the cause in question is lost beyond all hope.
    What they were saying, when they made Rusbridger smash those hardrives, was that the Guardian has no choice-it had signed on forever and when the ship goes down there is no escape.
    And let us face facts-the Manchester Guardian, voice of the cotton magnates and the class behind Peterloo, always was devoted to Empire, Free Trade and the barely disguised cannibalism of capitalism. Oh, and the Confederate States of America.

    Liked by 6 people

  20. Martyn Wood-Bevan says

    Amazing how much you can save through not buying the Guardian! I now know so much more about the world through a whole plethora of online activity whilst consuming the beverages that are subsidised by my non-spending! £60+ pounds per month buys a lot of tea/coffee!

    Liked by 2 people

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