Ich bin kein Berliner (2)

Looking at today’s Saturday-edition Guardian, it’s becoming clear that the Independent isn’t the sinking ship some bloggers might have thought. Can anyone who’s read today’s edition confirm or deny my impression that the articles are shorter and that advertising takes up more space in the main news section than when the paper was a broadsheet?

The point was earlier made that the Guardian had better opinion columnists than the Indie, which is probably true. But today I noticed this story on the front page, about setting up a Royal Commission to tackle Muslim extremism, and at the end of a rather short piece it pointed to page 11 - on which there was stuff about the subject generally, but not about the specific topics mentioned in the front-page article. Which is pretty strong stuff:

A royal commission to investigate how and why the London bombings happened and a media unit to rebut negative stories about Muslims and counter propaganda from Islamist extremists should be set up, according to proposals to be sent to Tony Blair by government-appointed taskforces on tackling Islamist extremism. … Coverage of Islam in the media has long irritated many British Muslims. The proposed media unit would counter press articles considered to be inaccurate or malicious attacks on Islam, and rebut statements by extremist groups. The taskforces consist of seven groups of Muslim MPs, peers, academics and community leaders. One of their proposals is the setting up of a royal commission. Senior Home Office officials discussed the proposal with Muslim groups on Wednesday and are expected to give a formal answer in a week.

Now, one hopes that this type of coverage shouldn’t be restricted to obscure bloggers and ranting idiots like “Will Cummins”, but extended to vendetta-like obsessions with petty and unthreatening political groups in a particular Sunday newspaper.

But turn to page 11, and there’s nothing on this topic, which I would have hoped would receive a decent long article. It’s just two short pieces on the upcoming anti-terrorist legislation with a bit of analysis, and nearly half the page is taken up by a Vauxhall advert. If it takes a climbdown and a return to broadsheet size to have news coverage at a decent length, well, a climbdown will do less long-term damage to the paper than a reduction in quality.

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