‘Good morning! Yes it’s time for a new newspaper.’ That’s the way Britain’s newest newspaper introduced itself…in 1964. In those days, the new Sun was a stablemate of the Daily Mirror. Now the Mirror has a new sibling: the New Day. The old new Sun struggled until it was taken over by Rupert Murdoch; the New Day launches into an incredibly difficult market. Can it survive?
The New Day says it is the first national newspaper for thirty years (which it is if you don’t count Eddy Shah’s five-week wonder from 1988, The Post). Like most new newspapers it says that it will be ‘unbiased’ and won’t take a party line. Indeed, it is openly pitching itself as a Mail or Express but with less bias, hatred and loathing.
So is it any good? It’s hard to judge a newspaper on its first edition (it tries far too hard to shoehorn its name into too many stories – yes, we understand you’re building your brand but there’s a limit!), but here are a few things that stand out:
- It feels like a magazine. The layout is fresh, modern and rather lovely
- Low-tech interactivity. The paper literally gives you a space to write in your three best ever holidays. It’s quirky, inclusive and positive and for all these reasons a mile away from its competitors
- Low-level activism. The feel-good focus can work in a newspaper only when it is balanced by serious stories. Features on young carers and albino children are accompanied by links so concerned readers can follow up
- Gossip in depth. There’s no ‘guilty pleasures’ spread – but there is an actual head-to-head debate about Cheryl’s toyboy adventure. Although it’s a matter I’m personally unconcerned about, at least the articles were well-written – unlike one of the op-eds about the EU referendum
- TV guide for the catch-up generation. A brief review, but no TV listing
- NIBs that are IBs. A couple of the news in brief sections were about setting a scene and a mood, and weren’t actually news
- You’ve got to love a newspaper that signs off with a quote from Dr Seuss.
It will be interesting to see how The New Day settles down. Anything that contributes to a more informed citizenry is a good thing. We’ll be following the new newspaper’s progress with interest.