The Spinoff reviews New Zealand #23: The Coffee News

We review the entire country and culture of New Zealand, one thing at a time. Today: José Barbosa reviews the ubiquitous one sheet publication, the Coffee News.

Print is dead, they say. Publishing models are falling out of the sky while adverting spend exsanguinates like a gushing toilet cistern.

That’s what they say, but I don’t believe it. How can I when enjoying a copy of the Coffee News at my local coffee house? When proof of print’s vivaciousness is served up alongside my cheese scone and fluffy?

Each issue of the Coffee News feels agile and mobile: an A3 double sided sheet containing six columns (three each side). Two thin pillars of local advertisements border the text (teeth whitening, relationship counselling, herbal weight loss pills etc) in which you can find six regular features that aim to entertain and inform. Our review copy: the Auckland CBD Edition.

In the Everybody’s Talking section I learnt about the zoology professor who boiled up and ate a frozen 36,000 year old bison corpse. I also read about Google’s new software which only unlocks your phone if you pull faces at it. The always anonymous Coffee News writer is obviously tickled by this innovative new tech: “Let’s see if the hackers can handle this curve ball!”

There’s a great story about a Russian mall that overestimated the number of retailers who would want to rent shop space. With so many empty shops the owners decided to put enlarged photographs of racks of clothing over all the windows of the vacant shops. “Because of this,” writes the Coffee News, “the mall appeared to be flourishing which encouraged shoppers to visit the stores that were actually open.”

However, the greatest feature is the On the Lighter Side section, a simple list of some awesome gags. Exhibit A: “Money talks. Mine generally says, ‘Bye!'”

There are horoscopes and a quiz. And an inspirational quote section: “Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.”

If this is the first you’ve heard of the Coffee News then I envy you. You’re just starting the journey, a journey into wonder. A journey into all the news that amuses. – José Barbosa

Good or bad? Eclipses such binary thinking.

Verdict: 8 to 12 very well spent minutes.


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