2nd Class Post…

21 01 2011

I suddenly find it is nine days since I last posted, 2nd class delivery by any stretch of the imagination!

There are no excuses. It’s all down to poor time management.  That perennial statement of the recently retired, “I don’t know how I ever found time to go to work,” never seemed more true!

It had completely passed me by (due, I guess, to being in Africa when it was launched) that The Independent now publishes i – the essential daily briefing. I confess to being alerted by their recent TV advertising campaign and have been sucked into trying it out this week.

It bills itself as Britain’s concise quality paper and has used the gimmicky slogan, “No celebrity nonsense,” in its advertising campaign, which isn’t strictly true as it does have a Caught & Social page but that is pretty much the extent of its coverage of the glitterati.   

Matrices are the order of the day. i opens with a useful News Matrix, inside the front page, which gives a brief outline of the main stories of the day and flags up where more detailed reports can be found.

An interesting Views section offers The Opinion Matrix, which draws on a range of publications, for comparative viewpoints on topical stories and also flags up a Quote of the Day.

Today’s offering was from a typically bullish Ed Balls, fast out of the blocks, following his sudden elevation to Shadow Chancellor:

“I first studied economics under Thatcher when unemployment hit 3 million…There is an alternative.”  

Chancellor, George Osborne, better get used to it. There is an alternative, is a phrase that will be ringing in his ears when Ed, the political bruiser, pulls on his gloves and climbs into the ring.

i comes in at 55 pages so concise doesn’t equate to superficial news coverage and analysis. There’s also a healthy Sport section, seven pages worth, to keep me happy.   

There’s even a Page 3 pin-up, but not of course as we know it – not in a quality paper!

This week’s featured, tongue in cheek, pin ups have included as diverse and interesting a group of newsworthy individuals as:

Ricky Gervais (comedian and controversial host at the Golden Globes): It was his second outing at the awards so they knew what they were letting themselves in for. Rise above it darlings!

Silvio Berlusconi (Italian Premier, alleged to have consorted with minors): Surely not! The guy is a  sleaze and a sick joke.  He can’t keep getting away with it, or can he? 

Rebecca Hall (actress): The daughter of Director Sir Peter Hall, who is starring as Viola in Dad’s new production of Twelfth Night at the National Theatre. Keeping it in the family – but why not? I’m sure it will be a great success. I might even try to get tickets. 

Michelle Obama (First Lady): She scrubbed up pretty well for this week’s White House reception for China’s President Hu (who?) She even wore a frock with a GB label, which showed off those famous biceps to great effect. 

At the moment knocks out  at 20p a copy, £1.00 for its weekly Monday to Friday run, which is an absolute snip and less than the tabloid comics.

i seems to be adopting something of a media cross over model, having adopted the style of an on-line newspaper in a traditional hard copy format.

It seems to meet the needs of the modern age, providing at a glance edited highlights of all the important news stories, for those who don’t have time to linger over their morning paper, while providing sufficient substance for those who can (like me!)

If traditional newspapers are to survive the onslaught of 24 hr TV, radio and Internet news coverage, and remain a viable alternative to their daily on-line editions, this could well be the shape of things to come.

It’s very early days for but, if they keep hitting the right notes and the price remains competitive, what are the chances of  its circulation figures eventually soaring above those of the parent paper?

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One response

24 01 2011
Another Phil

Your marketing succeeded – just bought my first copy of i . I remember when The Independent first came out and it looked to have great potential. Sadly, like many of the kids we have taught, it has never managed to take on the establishment but at least it has survived and innovated again

Anyway it will be the first of many. Rarely buy a daily but it represents such value for money compared to ‘The Week’ which arrives every Friday at getting on for a couple of quid. I maybe a convert.

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