Broadening our horizons: is big always best?

It is, I hope, safe to assume that, if you are reading this column, you will by now have noticed that all is not as it once was in the world of Nouse. That is to say, where once we were tabloid-sized, we have, for our last edition of the year, become broadsheet, and with the change in format we’re bringing you almost double the amount of content. This broadsheet edition comes to you with specially extended News, Politics, Comment and Sport sections, along with their less weighty Muse counterparts (conveniently tucked into a back-insert), and a commemorative graduation review of the years 2004-2007.

Being, as we are, an under-funded small-campus tabloid struggling to maintain honorary broadsheet status, it is not uncommon for accusations of pomposity to be levelled at Nouse. Having actually converted to broadsheet, albeit for only one special edition, will be interpreted by many, it can be assumed, as a further manifestation of that pomposity. And to an extent, that is probably a fair assessment.

After all, the broadsheet format is certainly an unusual choice in these heady, modern times. With the rise of communications technology in its myriad forms, and the resulting diversification of media outlets, print is considered by many to be an out-moded and soon-to-be defunct medium. The impact of the communications revolution on the media industry is playing itself out for all to see both nationally and internationally. And we are not immune: that revolution has arrived on campus, too, albeit on the microcosmic scale on which most things in York are undertaken.

Campus media groups are being forced to diversify in just the same way as their national and international counterparts. This explains why both Nouse and York Vision have drawn out fresh journalistic battle lines on our respective websites, with exclusive content increasingly being posted online by both. It explains too why Nouse— staunch print devotees that we may be—now foray each edition into the world of broadcast media with our online podcasts; why URY and YSTV have begun streaming their output over the web, and why Daniel Ashby, previously editor of Vision, threw in the towel with print and set up his own news and features website, the Yorker, which he hopes will be every student’s homepage before the year is out.

In this context, the choice to go broadsheet seems a strange one indeed. Even in print circles, the broadsheet is seen as a dying form in the UK (though it is more healthily represented internationally, particularly across the Atlantic). Broadsheets may not be as elegant as the Berliner form which the Guardian has adopted instead; nor are they as portable as the increasingly ubiquitous tabloid. But, for all we might be pompous, Nouse has no real pretentions either to chic elegance or to portability.

We do our best, however, to pay attention to the way you read the paper and we are aware that, because few of you will read us on the commute or in transit, you do not necessarily require such standards of portability from us. You will most likely be reading Nouse lounging in the JCRC, spreading it out on your kitchen table in halls, or curling up with it on your sofa at home. Unwieldy as it may be to read on the bus, there is no better format than the broadsheet for lounging with. And since it’s the end of the academic year, and lounging is the order of the day, there seemed no better form for our graduation special edition to take.
So we hope you will sit back, relax and enjoy lounging with this particular broadsheet…

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