If you missed out on the free inaugural edition of The New Day this morning in your rush to work, never fear. Louise Fernley has been through the latest – bravest – print-only venture from Trinity Mirror.
In what can only be described as a tricky environment for the UK news industry amid declining advertising revenue and increased competition from online-only news sources, Trinity Mirror has today launched its new 25p paper – the short and snappy, politically neutral The New Day.
As a slight aside, if you haven’t caught Henry Mance’s fascinating analysis of the sector’s fortunes from earlier this month, before he swapped his media editor role for a political post, you can read it here on FT.com.
Why’s it important?
This brave new venture comes just two weeks after The Independent announced that both its daily and Sunday papers would cease printing next month and move online, following the sale of sister paper the i to Johnston Press, resulting in around 100 job losses. The first of the national UK newspapers to ‘stop the press for good’ has spooked the industry, but it would appear that Trinity Mirror does not scare easy.
In an ad-style mission statement on the inside front page of The New Day’s first issue, the paper poked fun at its timing – “They’re launching another newspaper? But we have the Internet now. They must be daft.” – before setting out its premise: to be a “new type of newspaper.”
The New Day promises that its pages will contain no political bias, no posturing, no soap boxes, no sob story overload – no information overload in general. Instead it will be a 40-page, plain-speaking people’s paper, with a focus on good news stories and debate and discussion, rather than “reporting and repeating” the news.
Is this the new face of the print paper here to stay?
What’s the reaction been?
Industry commentators have been quick to compare The New Day to a combination of free morning paper Metro and the i – quick, easy, slightly quirky but firmly mainstream reads. Some have remarked on the lack of news in the first issue, with editor Alison Phillips focusing more on social affairs and health stories. However the vast majority of the commentary so far heralds The New Day for its bold and refreshing approach.
The New Day’s maiden issue led on an exclusive report from charity The Carers’ Trust about the 40,000 infant carers going unnoticed and unsupported by the State – an interesting but somewhat unusual choice of issue for a paper that has already branded itself as discursive and upbeat.
The rest of the paper followed in this social affairs vein, with a feature on bullying centred around a social experiment set up by The New Day and a long-read on the plight of outcast albino children in Tanzania.
These meatier stories sat a little uneasily next to gossipy features on Cheryl Fernandex-Versini’s new relationship with a One Directioner and the ubiquitous lifestyle and ‘stylish pooches’ pictures.
We’ll be watching closely from tomorrow when The New Day veers away from the Metro and retails at 25p, before going up to 50p in two weeks’ time. While it’s a refreshingly different proposition, with a simple style and interesting mix of stories, it remains to be seen how much appetite there is for a pithy print paper which focuses more on features than hard news. Will this new model be sustainable when Metro and its online equivalent Buzzfeed offer a very similar package that doesn’t set you back a couple of quid a week?
Photo Credit: The Guardian