The New Day, the first new daily newspaper in 30 years

DSC03142There’s a new newspaper on the newsstands, called The New Day. Must try and not use the word new again in this article – four in previous sentence.

Published by the Trinity Mirror Group, it was provided free on Monday, and available for 25 pence for the next two weeks, and 50 pence after that. There’ll be no associated website. So it’s purely a print publication.

The publishers have promised it support for nine months. Here’s what they say about the paper.

It will be pitched at people aged 35 to 55, people who want a more modern approach to news.

…you’ll find no political bias. In fact, we’ll give you both sides of the argument and we’ll let you make up your own mind.

We’ve no weekly columnists. But loads of opinions. All different.

And we’ll have good new not just bad. Like life.

Our stories will be selected to interest our readers, not to impress other journalists.

…with just 40 pages we’re dedicated to ruthlessly editing the world’s events. We’ll tell you everything you need to know without bombarding you.

Will it succeed? I hae me doubts. For news snippets there’s the Internet, Twitter, and Facebook,from which people under 25 draw their news. I think the I newspaper has their target market covered, and now that’s its found a new home with the Johnston Press, they’ll be keen to promote it.

Even though The New Day costs will be low, I can’t see it making money. Apart from straight news reporting, I want to read strong opinions, be they from Polly Toynbee, Richard Littlejohn, or Quentin Letts, which this paper won’t provide.

Oh, the damage that a tweet can do

It’s always been the case that when writing or saying things to a public audience one should always exercise caution. Before posting a letter, or pressing the send key on an email, there’s an opportunity to pause and reflect before taking such action.

It’s the immediacy of social media websites, such as Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, and so many more, that attracts. The penalty is removal of the necessary moment of reflection.

No better advert of this is with Labour MP Emily Thornberry’s tweet during her canvassing in the Rochester & Strood by-election. Whatever interpretation you put on her tweet [see below], most people, and the media, seem to have taken the most negative. It’s the fact that her ill considered thought was given immediate expression through Twitter and the consequent widespread public attention that became her undoing.  Just look at the Sun newspaper front page today [again below] to see the damage one ill considered tweet can do.

Emily Thornberry Twitter The Sun

Quality journalism debased

TGuardian article 22Jul2013he power of the blogosphere is a fearsome thing. None more so than in the Guido Fawkes blogs.

On Monday, The Guardian newspaper claimed an exclusive story of a serious lobbying ‘conflict of interest’ by the Tories election strategist, Lynton Crosby [click on image to expand].

How interesting that The Guardian’s strength in investigative reporting, holding truth to power, is found to be a hollow sham, by no less than the Guido Fawkes blog.

Here’s what you need to know about how a ‘serious’ newspaper seeks to mislead the reader, and by association the BBC.

  • The original Guardian article, erroneously implicating Lynton Crosby in another lobbying row.
  • Guido Fawkes exposes the tendentious nature of the ‘exclusive’ article.
  • The BBC naturally follows up on the Guardian article and the ‘shocking conflict of interest’.
  • Communications consultant Ed Staite describes the motives behind the Guardian’s article.
  • Guido Fawkes shows where the journalistic power lies, getting a graceless correction from The Guardian. 

Oh, how I love Guido. It’s surely no surprise that The Guardian’s newspaper sales are falling. When a ‘serious’ newspaper loses its reputation for accuracy, what’s left.

Thoughts on interviews, social media and local press

Being interviewed, mentioned in the two previous blog posts, offers a perspective on the role of social media in reporting on local community events.

In both cases I didn’t ask to be interviewed. The interviewer decided that the event was worthy of  record. The local press weren’t present at either event. I feel able to draw conclusions from the experience, which updates my previous thoughts in Is social media replacing the local newspaper?, and The future of newspapers and paid-for online content.

Sadly in neither case did I ask about the motivation of the interviewer. Never mind that, here are my conclusions:

  • Even though the local press offer limited coverage of local community events, a reader would need to visit very many websites to acquire the news that’s available in a single newspaper edition. So, currently in Surrey Heath local newspapers continue to a reliable source of local news, however imperfect it might be.
  • Technology for interviewing is small, lightweight, affordable, and easy to use.
  • The means of publishing is also easy to create, and in many cases free to use. There’s a multiplicity of platforms on which to publish, which presents challenges. However, cheap technology and publishing platforms present local news media with a realistic and strong potential challenge.
  • Overall, my conclusion is if the mainstream local press and media fail to offer regular, and effective coverage of local events, however newsworthy they may be, then there’s a big opportunity for new entrants into the market. It’s simply down to any new entrant being able to build a credible alternative to the established local media.

Is it likely to happen? Yes. Will it happen soon? I can’t tell. But, what I can say is that this week I was at the opening of the new Tomlinscote Vocational Centre, and they have a studio with broadcast quality TV and radio equipment, and post production editing technology. So, it mightn’t be too long before some bright student decides to start a local news business combining local radio, TV, and social media outlets. I hope it happens, because that’ll be good for our communities.

Update on the future of newspapers

Earlier this year I pondered of the future of newspapers in this digital age.

Since then our personal circumstances have changed. We no long subscribe to the Daily Telegraph, since my wife objected to a sharp rise in the subscription fee. Also, we’ve less time presently to get the full value out of a broadsheet newspaper.

Another thing has occurred that’s likely to delay our re-taking a daily newspaper, and that’s that we’ve acquired an iPad. We’ve installed the free apps from the quality daily papers, which means we can get a good flavour of the look of the front page and much of their content.

I don’t imagine that the iPad and its equivalents will see the death of the daily newspaper. But it’s going to make life much more difficult for newspapers to make money and survive over the longer term.

The ability to switch easily from seeing the latest weather forecast, continuing to read a digital book, and catching up with the latest news, and all with the convenience of a tablet computer make this a technical revolution that newspapers will have to adjust to.

Celeb gossip is a winner for the Daily Mail online

Amazing. The Daily Mail’s website is the second most popular ‘newspaper’ website in the English-speaking world, according to new data published in Brand Republic.

The results are, 1st: New York Times, 2nd: Mail Online, 3rd: Huffington Post, and the Guardian came in at number 5.

Insight and incisive comment a scarce commodity

Iain Martin’s blog on politics, from his position as Deputy Editor of the Wall Street Journal Europe, is no more, so he says. Latterly I was amused by Iain Martin’s fixation on David Cameron’s choice of tie, and his seeing it as a means of political interpretation. Without this and other of his comments, it’s a loss to the blogosphere.

Losing the blogs of Iain Dale, Tom Harris MP, and now Iain Martin means that insight and incisive comment in an individual blog is now a scarcer commodity.

However, I believe there’s a metamorphosis occurring with political and current affairs blogs. While the influential individual blog on politics is disappearing, political journal’s and bigger blogs are filling the space.

We’re seeing this change a bit late in the UK. In the US, the Huffington Post, began in 2005 as a internet-based news and opinion paper, and content aggregating blog, amazingly sold to AOL for $315 million.

The arrival, this week, of a redesigned Total Politics website is a mark of a similar transition. Politics Home recently captured the services of Paul Waugh, one of my favourite bloggers, to add editorial gravitas and focus to the website, although I find the site a bit crowded and ‘blocky’ for my taste.

We do have one exemplary internet political blog cum journal in Conservative Home, which aims to provide comprehensive coverage of Britain’s Conservative Party, saying,

“By 9am every day ConservativeHome identifies the most important Tory stories of the day.  The site is then updated throughout each day, seven days a week.”

And my it does this well. It’s a model of being supportive of a political party but being independent of it.

The point about individual opinion is that as you come to know the mind of the writer, you seek out their thoughts on the hot topics of the day.

The future of newspapers and paid for online content

Let’s begin by being personal. I take the Daily Telegraph daily. I like a broadsheet newspaper. I like the space it offers to combine text, pictures and adverts. I like newspaper front pages for their creativity, and ability to shock. I like the serendipitous nature of discovery a broadsheet newspaper offers.

I don’t like supplements. I don’t like the smaller or tabloid formats. I’m not a magazine buyer or reader, although I used to read and enjoy the Economist, not enough time for that now. I’m an avid internet user and consumer of online news and comment. Hell, I’m a blogger, so am bound to like all things interwebby. That’s me.

Now, what of the future for newspapers. Firstly, at the base level they are merely a commodity. Differentiation is difficult.  The volume of free information and comment increasingly crowds out the paid for media. Reader loyalty is an aging concept. The young don’t rely newspapers for information or comment.

Taking the Economist and The Times as examples, it’s difficult to see either of their charging models succeeding long-term. The economics of The Times charging model is surely a concern for its owners, whose readership has collapsed following the introduction of a pay wall to all of their online content. Clay Shirky doubts it’s a model that’ll be copied. I agree. It seems they consider the iPad as the solution.

While the Economist, who now charge for some online content, may possibly drive online readership to the occasional news stand purchase for those paid for marquee online articles, it’s surely not the answer either. Bradford Cross certainly thinks so.

Bradford Cross suggests ways for newspapers to survive, by offering on-line content through cleverly designed paid for applications, which combine the essentials of Google search relevance, Facebook social interaction, and Apple style design simplicity. It’s a neat concept, as it mirrors how we interact with news today. In that search drives much of the traffic to a news website, Facebook is how the young access news, and that Apple-like intuitive applications lower the barrier to acceptance. While Clay Shirky thinks we don’t yet know what the answer will be to ‘saving our newspapers’.

The answer, and in this I’m not alone, is through enhancing the quality of the journalism. The public, of all ages, will seek out the views and information that matters to them. A fine example would be news and opinion on sport. There’s surely a way for the daily press to monetise a sports application that runs alongside free access to commoditised world and national news.

Bradford Cross suggests the new news delivery model will look like Flipboard or Pulse News Reader.

Only the young want to pay for online access to a newspaper

Polling company YouGov’s report into UK media consumption habits, unsurprisingly concludes:

“The majority of UK adults are willing to continue paying for traditional newspapers, in stark contrast with their apparent unwillingness to pay for online newspaper content.”

No surprise there then. It finds that for online content, “only two percent of respondents willing to shell out for online content in the current format.”

Perhaps it’s the youth vote that’s driving the change to pay to view online content, when the report finds,

“… a comparatively large ten percent of 16-24 year olds say they would ‘definitely pay’ for online access to newspapers.”