Why the Newspaper Still Beats the Amazon Kindle

A Kindle DX is on my lust-list, in part because I read a lot of PDFs. In Slate, Farhad Manjoo offers a thoughtful critique of Kindle’s self-proclaimed destiny to be a news medium:

The Kindle presents news as a list–you’re given a list of sections (international, national, etc.) and, in each section, a list of headlines and a one-sentence capsule of each story. It’s your job to guess, from the list, which pieces to read. This turns out to be a terrible way to navigate the news.

Every newspaper you’ve ever read was put together by someone with an opinion about which of the day’s stories was most important. Newspapers convey these opinions through universal, easy-to-understand design conventions–they put important stories on front pages, with the most important ones going higher on the page and getting more space and bigger headlines. You can pick up any page of the paper and–just by reading headlines, subheads, and photo captions–quickly get the gist of several news items. Even when you do choose to read a story, you don’t have to read the whole thing. Since it takes no time to switch from one story to another, you can read just a few paragraphs and then go on to something else. — Farhad Manjoo, Slate