The New IHT

I discovered the International Herald Tribune tucked away in the weekend edition of the Ha’eretz in Israel. Until then I used to read newspapers for the funny pages and occasionally I’d follow crises. For example, some big crisis erupted, and I’d read only about that crisis, till it faded away, only to be replaced by the next big crisis. In Sede Boker, even though we had access to the net, I missed a more tactile view of the world, and I started buying the newspaper every weekend, and it soon became a favourite ritual. I also became more world-aware in Israel, and more politics aware. It’s hard to escape politics there…or religion. In Australia, I shifted my loyalties to the Sydney Morning Herald, but still kept in touch with the IHT over the net. I’d often encounter articles in the SMH weeks after I’d already read them in the IHT, thanks to the magic recycling of the articles. In Mexico, where I have no access to physical english newspapers here in Xalapa, the news from the net became more and more important, and as always, the IHT was my first port of call.
Till they went and changed the design. And the content. A month or so ago, the IHT disappeared, the Washington Post pulled out of the deal and now the iHT is the ‘global edition ‘ of the New York Times. I used to read some articles from the NYT from time to time, especially during the run up to the last US election, but I usually went to the NYT site only to get an american perspective. But now, the IHT has disappeared, subsumed by the NYT to the extent that most of the stuff on the front page is basically american news. It’s no longer the world’s daily newspaper, it’s the NYT with a slight foreign bent. And this change is also seen, for example in the section with the articles most read, emailed etc. Before it used be a great way to find articles from all over the world, but now, 60 % are about the US. As an experiment, I compared the front page of the NYT with the IHT (discounting all the fluff that surrounds the articles) and found that there is an overlap of more than half of the articles. The newIHT seems to be more interested in putting all sorts of little boxes where you click to find out more, and the blogs are given a more prominent place on the page. Furthermore, the design seems to have changed dramatically to put lots of stuff on the page, but the busyness is daunting. Here’s a link to the old IHT, hosted on archive.org, because in addition to the great redesign, they also managed to break all links to old pages, effectively breaking a part of the web. See this earlier post on a reporter who suddenly vanished from the IHT’s pages. I am not the only one annoyed with the changes, people have gone so far as to start a Facebook group protesting, but fat lot of good that will do. I think it’s time to face it: the IHT is dead, even the logo is gone, and it is time to move on to another news site.
So far the Guardian is looking really good.

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3 thoughts on “The New IHT

  1. What’s that German paper in English?? Umm… gah, forget the name. D-W is it? It can be good (or is it just the Euro version of IHT??). I’m all confused coz I don’t tend to follow much specifically outside of NYT (I’m still a politics junkie despite the election being over) save for what’s linked/mentioned in some current affairs and aggregator blogs (reddit/mefi etc)

    I guess another way is to spend an hour sometime and work out how to roll your own news feed. I haven’t done it but you can take a bunch of rss feeds from a few news sites, for instance, ‘Asia breaking news’ (or whatever) and combine them into a single feed with rssmix.com. I do that with, for instance, a few feeds from the one university or a single search term from a few sites. Sure, it’s not going to replace that which you like, but if you think about it and do it smart (maybe even with google alerts as well) you might find you can have a useful lump of input to skim without having to leave the comfort of your home (browser) ;- )

    And I guess the other way to look at it, that makes rolling your own kind of sensible, is: because they all cannibalise each other’s stories, it’s nearly immaterial which individual news organisation you follow – choosing a single news service is more about finding an editor who thinks like you do: that most links or plagiarises or copies what you yourself finds interesting.

    • Yeah I reckon you mean Spiegel.de. I did take a look at it especially since I heard that they were aggressively going after the English market, but even their world section is mostly Germany, and I am even less interested in German Interest News.
      I do do the google thing though, but that more specific, since I set up tabs for mainstream news on India and Mexico and OZ (got to know what the Ruddbot is upto), as well as a keyword searching thingy for news on Mexico in english, (I haven’t found local sources for news on Mexico in english that’s any good).
      But somehow all these RSS/aggregatory sites are not, in the end, satisfying, if you want to read more and skim less. I reckon they are good for headlines or breaking news, but not for longer articles. Anyway.

  2. I get the print edition of the IHT every day, and I have not noticed any shift in the content. It was always fairly US centric, although I did only start reading it about 6 months ago, so maybe I just didnt notice.

    It still beats every English newspaper for content, except perhaps the Financial Times, but that is just too much financial news for my liking.

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