Print vs. Online: How the print edition of the New York Times trumps the online version.
Print vs. Online: How the print edition of the New York Times trumps the online version.
Media criticism.
Aug. 19 2011 5:47 PM

Print vs. Online

The ways in which old-fashioned newspapers still trump online newspapers.

(Continued from Page 1)

Influenced as I am by Bill Hill's 1999 essay " The Magic of Reading" ( Microsoft Reader required), I think that the conventional newspaper has a couple more advantages. The attention given to typeface, letter-spacing, line-length, leading, page size, and margins, and all the other tricks in the newspaper typographer's bag, gives the eyes and the brain an edge over copy published for Web browsers.

After 15 years working in Web journalism, I still find it difficult to finish any newspaper story longer than 1,000 words on a computer screen. I either find a copy of the newspaper or, failing that, print it out. I'm no Luddite, though. You can't search for news in paper editions! You can get only a handful of out-of-town newspapers in paper editions on their day of publication, so I'm happy that both reading environments exist. My iPad reading experience has been mixed. While it's a joy to carry 25 editions of The New Yorker and whole libraries of books on an iPad, for real reading satisfaction I still reach for the print editions.


As consumers of news continue to shift from newspapers to computers, reader engagement with the news will change, conclude the authors. Everybody who writes, edits, and produces news copy needs to give this paper a gander. As it's a 30-page pdf, I don't mind if you print it.


I have a 6-inch stack of printouts in my office that I keep around so young visitors have something to draw on when they come by. What constructive thing do you do with your discarded printouts? Send word to I wonder if there is a market for a hard-copy version of my Twitter feed. (Email may be quoted by name in "The Fray," Slate's readers' forum; in a future article; or elsewhere unless the writer stipulates otherwise. Permanent disclosure: Slate is owned by the Washington Post Co.)

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