The paper felt light this morning, as it often does on a Monday in August, only more so. The columns on the right-hand side of the front page looked a little narrower than usual, and I didn’t know why.
Then I looked to the left and saw the note: today the New York Times switched to its smaller sheet size.
Unsurprisingly, I hate it. It lacks the impact, the heft, the ability to convey significant information on a single page. The accordion fold on the subway creates a meek, finished-too-fast column of text. It makes the paper feel less significant, less worth the cover price, less important.
Of course, the Times’s news coverage hasn’t dropped; some of it has simply gotten shorter or moved online. But–and I say this fully aware of the irony–I don’t really want to go to a website for continuations of content I’m reading offline. Despite my thorough online lifestyle, I am resolutely committed to reading the printed newspaper every day. I look forward to it. I have nothing to gain by reading most of the paper, I want to read all of it, and to use for its blogs and for sharing items with friends, not to get extra scoops or a handful of letters to the editor that I used to be able to read in print. I also find it mildly hypocritical that the Times cites rising costs in its resizing decision, when it raised the newsstand price a full 25 percent just weeks earlier.
I know that newsprint is increasingly expensive, and that readership of the print edition is down, and that my desire for the old-fashioned edition makes me something of a fuddy-duddy and a nimbyist. At some point I’m sure I’ll get used to it, just as people always adapt to change. But the new style of the New York Times, by being 11% smaller, is, for the time being, making the Times itself feel 11% lesser.