News you can use

To celebrate its redesign, The Guardian is offering free access to its online edition for the next two weeks. If you live in America and have always wondered what a real newspaper would be like, now’s your chance to find out.

(If you think the New York Times is a real newspaper…well, they ditched their entire technology section to make way for more articles on shopping, fitness and fashion. Says it all really.)

To my mind, there are three reasons why The Guardian is a great newspaper.

The first is accuracy—the paper has a policy of correcting every factual error, and the Corrections and Clarifications column can make for very entertaining reading. The paper even does a pretty good job of covering technology and science.

The second is that the paper does real investigative reporting into things that actually matter. For example, today:

MPs from all parties are planning to campaign against the CIA’s use of British airports and RAF bases when abducting terrorism suspects who are then flown to countries where they are allegedly tortured. An all-party group is to be established this autumn to coordinate the campaign and to inquire into the extent of Britain’s support for the operations, which are said to violate international law.

The development was announced as the UN began inquiring into the operations, known in US intelligence circles as “extraordinary renditions”, and as an investigation by the Guardian uncovered the extent of British logistical support. […]

And elsewhere there’s the first full account of the May 13th massacre in Uzbekistan. If you have no idea what that’s about, it may be because the violence was carried out by paramilitaries sent in by one of the USA’s crucial allies in the war against (some) terrorists.

The third reason I like The Guardian is diversity of opinion. Although it’s popularly believed to be ‘left wing’ or ‘socialist’, The Guardian in fact gives space to all kinds of (often contradictory) viewpoints. Today, for example, the opinion section has an article arguing that the UK road haulers’ threatened strike and fuel blockade should be smashed the way Thatcher smashed the miner’s strike. That’s like FOX News suggesting that Michael Moore should be elected President.

I should mention that the digital edition is having a few teething troubles right now; normally all the stories are available indexed, but at the moment some pages are only readable as PDF. Still, stick with it, I think you’ll find it worthwhile.