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Monday, 30 June 2008

Ten Best?

Shrinking Ten-Best Newspapers
The End of a Tradition

By Richard Carreño
It has always been a tradition by media observers -- something akin to what cinema reviewers do at year's end -- to list the 10 'best' English language newspapers, an evolving process, at best. I've been doing this for years. So, I guess it was no surprise when my good friend Jimmy 'Worcester' Haley (he was born in Worcester, Massachusetts) asked me the other day why Junto's 10 best list has gone missing is recent years.

Actually, Jimmy, I've been struggling with what to do with the list. As of now, it no longer exists.

There's a double-barrelled reason for dropping the list.

One, newspapers are changing so quickly to multi-media operations that's it's hard to nail down specifically what's what in hard-copy as opposed to on-line copy. What's better? What should be judged?

More important, there are no longer 10 'best' newspapers, hard-copy or on-line. 'Best' is not a changing standard, as far as I'm concerned. I've been rating papers by the same standard for years and, frankly, I can hardly find any today that meet the yardstick of yore.

A quick list -- oops, yes, a list -- would include these papers, in no particular order: The National, The New York Times, The Guardian, The Wall Street Journal, The Globe and Mail, The Washington Post, Financial Times, International Herald Tribune. There are other good newspapers.

But the best? The mission has changed. Audiences have changed. Media has changed.

I'm a daily reader of Slate and The Huffington Post. These, clearly, are not newspapers in any traditional sense. But these on-line publications do provide some of the 'best' reporting and column solemnising around.

Today, the media biz to diverse to narrow quality to a specific medium. Like your afternoon daily, say goodbye to the 10 best newspaper list.