Does the Guardian exist to deliver the news, clearly and effectively, or does it exist to deliver eyeballs to advertisers, using the news as a second-level excuse to attract said eyes their way?
When I worked at a daily newspaper, there was a clear and unequivocal separation of the editorial and design processes for the “content” and the ‘advertising” in the paper. The employees of each branch worked on different floors. In the composing room the ad paste-up and the edit paste-up were generally handled by two separate groups of people.
Each recognized the importance of the other, and there was something noble about the edit side — as much as people working for a small town newspaper reporting about the school board and traffic accidents could be, the editors and reporters felt that they were doing more than just helping the publishers making money.
The print equivalent of the design of the new Guardian website would be to run advertising on the front page filling up the entire space above the fold, Why is this okay?