I have been reading the Sunday Times since the late 1980s. When I was a teenager it was the household choice for weekend reading and I continued to buy it regularly though my university years and into my 30s. It was perhaps a surprising choice for a lefty such as me, it is after all very much a part of the establishment and leans firmly to the right. This was part of its appeal however. I believe it’s important to absorb opinions at odds with your own – the echo-chamber is comfortable but it doesn’t stretch you. The journalism was always of a high standard and the opinion pieces were from a wide range of contributors covering a broad spread of the political spectrum. Satisfyingly weighty with a multitude of sections, it could last all week.
I’ve tended to read it less in recent years mostly due to a lack of time to read it cover to cover. A few weeks ago I decided to treat myself, I would have a lazy Sunday lurking in my favourite coffee shop reading the paper. To be honest it was a bit of a let down, the coffee was great but the newspaper was not. Perhaps this was a blip? A few weekends later I did the same thing, and sadly it was not a blip.
The venerable Sunday Times is now a truly awful newspaper, sneering almost-propaganda masquerading as journalism. Where once the News Review was home to in-depth analysis and brave investigative journalism it is now shallow and one-sided. The Magazine is thin and frankly laughable. The Culture section was barely tolerable principally because it has changed little in content and design for about a decade. The Style magazine was composed more of adverts than content. To be blunt, the only bit worth reading was the still delightfully acerbic Mrs Mills but I’m not paying £2.20 for that!
So next weekend I’m giving The Independent a try. Fingers crossed.