Highest reading age english language newspaper
July 5, 2012 3:40 AM   Subscribe

Which english language newspaper (online or offline) has the highest reading age score?

I am keen to find a 'decent' english language newspaper (or even magazine), either online or offline, which has a high reading age. As well as the news it has to include a good arts section with reviews / articles on TV, Books and Movies.

If anyone has any suggestion please include the considered reading age as well.

posted by dazzle to Media & Arts (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Financial Times.
posted by nickrussell at 3:43 AM on July 5, 2012

Google provides a reading level filter you might find useful to sort of work your way backwards into some options. You could do a bunch of searches for topics you're interested in, with relevant filtering applied, and then see what floats to the top.

If you just want to get an overall score for a given publication, you can do a general site-limited search [NYTimes], but that obviously requires you already have some particular ones in mind, versus the topic-based approach above.
posted by Su at 3:58 AM on July 5, 2012

I am not sure how well the Google algorithm works. In general the UK broadsheets seem to me to have similar reading levels. However according to Google there's wide variation, with the Independent having the most advanced content. The disparity with the US is shocking, with event the Daily Mail having apparently more advanced content than the NYT.
posted by roofus at 4:05 AM on July 5, 2012

Like nickrussell, I have always heard that the Financial Times had the highest reading level (and USA Today one of the lowest), but I cannot find a cite for this.

In Philip Meyer's The Vanishing Newspaper, is a table (Table 6-1 on page 116) that ranks 40 newspapers. The Houston Chronicle is ranked 40th (highest reading level). Please note that high reading level does not mean intellectually stimulating content. In fact, he argues for lower reading levels and I agree.
posted by Houstonian at 4:17 AM on July 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

Agreed that the Google algorithm seems somewhat flawed. I would not rate the Independent's content as overall more advanced than the Guardian's, as roofus's link seems to show. So I wouldn't rely solely on what Google thinks.
posted by catch as catch can at 4:33 AM on July 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

Are you looking for a high "reading age" because you think that means a newspaper is well-written? If so then you should know that "reading age" doesn't even approximately measure what you think it does.

If you're learning English and you want to challenge yourself with obscure words and long sentences, then I would start with your local small newspaper. If you just want obscure jargon then, sure, the Financial Times.
posted by caek at 4:57 AM on July 5, 2012

Wall street journal also has a very high reading level, though it may have dropped in recent years...
posted by rockindata at 5:15 AM on July 5, 2012

I have no idea about its "reading age", but the Spectator sounds like what you're looking for.

posted by Prof Iterole at 5:18 AM on July 5, 2012

According to Google, New Scientist magazine seems to have an advanced reading level for 27% of its articles - somewhat higher than the 23% cited for the FT.
posted by rongorongo at 5:27 AM on July 5, 2012

One other approach would be to look for publications that use "Pompass-ass words". For example here is a google news search for publications using the word "antediluvian" - a few such searches on choice words like this will help you to find publications that are not afraid of using them.
posted by rongorongo at 5:37 AM on July 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

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