Tuesday 26 October 2010

i can't see this lasting

I tracked down a copy of the new newspaper 'i' - published by The Independent - today and actually quite liked it.

It is certainly bright and cheerful, written using snappy prose, well sign-posted and liberally sprinkled with glossy photos. It has the look and feel of The London Paper - News International's evening free sheet - which closed in August last year but with more substance. On a short commute, or lunch break you would feel you have got a good briefing of the major issues. There are even a few pieces of comment and analysis thrown in.

Leafing through the 56 pages it appears the rumours Stefano Hatfield, formerly editor of the London Paper, will now edit the paper are true. What isn't clear is how the owners of The Independent plan to make any money out of this new venture. The London Paper couldn't continue even though it was subsidised by the deep pockets of News International. i will face intense competition in all the UK's major cities from The Metro morning freesheet and, in London, from the Evening Standard; which is now distributed free and is also from the Independent stable.

The ultimate challenge facing i is from its very audience it was designed to attract. The young, urban generation has turned its back on print journalism - at least in its paid form. Why would anyone pay 20p for i when they can get a quick digest of the news from The Metro for free.

I would imagine the editorial team at the Independent have faith in offering a better class of journalism - including a sprinkling of comment - rather than merely reproduced Press Association copy. I have my doubts, not because I don't like the product but because this is journalism produced in the wrong form for i's target audience.    

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