29 February 2016

The New Day

Trinity Mirror (publisher of the Daily Mirror, Sunday Mirror, and Sunday People) has launched a new newspaper: The New Day. After the free first issue, it will be sold at 25p for a trial period. This makes The New Day the UK's second-cheapest national newspaper, after the 20p Daily Star, though neither The New Day nor the Star could sustain such low cover prices on a permanent basis. (The Star, which previously cost 40p, has been selling at half price since last October, in an unsuccessful attempt to restart the price war of the early 1990s.)

The New Day sets out its agenda on page two: "We know this can't be just another newspaper. It has to be a new type of newspaper." This sounds familiar, because the i similarly claimed to be "not only a new paper, but a new kind of paper" when it was launched in 2010. The New Day's editor, Alison Philips, writes on page five: "We want to make sure you are aware of the important things going on in this frantic, modern world" and again this echoes the i, which described itself as "designed for people with busy, modern lives... it's your essential daily briefing."

The i has successfully positioned itself as a concise digest of news and comment, though The New Day - judging from the launch issue - is dominated by features and lifestyle articles rather than news. Children, shopping, relationships, and animals are the dominant topics, implying a female target demographic. (The editor, deputy editor, section editors, and most writers are also female.) There is very little political or international news coverage, and most news stories are single paragraphs. Only the features and columns have bylines; uncredited content is presumably from agencies or Mirror staff.

The New Day looks appealing, and has high production values: it has full colour throughout, and it boasts on page two that its paper is "top quality, snow white and stapled". Its content is quite confusingly organised, though. Pages two and three have "today's news essentials" but there are more top stories in a "three minute update" on page twenty-four. Similarly, sports coverage is split over two sections: one on pages sixteen and seventeen, and another on pages twenty-six and twenty-seven.

Also, the first lead story isn't very promising: a report "seen exclusively by The New Day" (page six) was actually published online a week ago. (The report, Invisible & In Distress, appeared on the Carer's Trust website on 23rd February.) This is more like churnalism than journalism, and I wonder why a real exclusive wasn't available for the launch issue.