Oct 10

The new “i”: a launch against the odds

The spin from the parent paper, The Independent, has been that the arrival of “i” is the first national newspaper launch in Britain for 25 years.

Except that it’s not mostly new. i’s staff of ten are repackaging the content of The Independent: smaller paper, chunkier mid-market design, more pictures, shorter stories, tweet-sized fragments of “commentary” and the dull stuff (politics, economics) taken out or truncated.

But will it work? For a survey of opinion see here (UK-centric) and here (European dimension); for an optimistic take, see Dominic Ponsford here. The best argument for launching such a paper in a declining daily print market is that the readers of the free Metro find the paper so unsatisfying that they will shell out the 20p for a nicer class of quick read. But I doubt that it’ll work. I was wrong about the Evening Standard going free, thinking that sums would not add up. But that move, under Lebedev family management, seems to have worked.

So here is a cautious list of reservations about i. Continue reading →


Jul 10

Ponsford to Finkelstein: 5 ways to raise The Times game online

Discriminating and useful post from Dominic Ponsford of UK Press Gazette on The Times new site addressed, as I imagine it, to Danny Finkelstein, the man in charge. Dominic’s right (point 4) to draw attention to one of the oddest aspects of that elegant site: the lack of links going elsewhere. It just cannot be that readers born into the digital generation are going to believe that all the information they can need or want on a subject is going to be generated by one editorial staff.

While skirting the subject of paywalls, here’s the invaluable NiemanLabs on some of the latest thinking on new, painless (“skip the negotiation”) ways of getting people to pay for content. It’s dense, granular stuff but only that kind of work will crack open the solution to charging without having to erect walls which destroy linkage.

And lastly, a rare interview with the founder of Google News, Khrishna Bharat. Right or not, anyone in news or media needs to now what this man is thinking. (OK, I admit it: I haven’t had time to watch it right through. Yet).