The new stripped down version of The Independent called “i” launched yesterday making it the first quality daily to launch in Britain since The Independent itself in 1986.
I can’t write about i for the rest of this post by its actual title (I think i…) so from now on it’s called The i. Too confusing already.
But title aside this is an impressive paper. It unashamedly targets itself at public transport commuters, those who would normally pick up a Metro or have it shoved into their hands. But The i isn’t free, it’s 20p, still cheap by any newspaper’s standards, but it is competing with a freesheet.
So the question is, is it 20p better than the Metro?
Well not only is it 20p better than the Metro it’s 80p cheaper than papers that are too bulky for the average working person to read on a daily basis.
News, opinion, business and sports stories are broken down into matrices for the time constrained. International stories take up a two page matrix called Panorama. The stories are short, a paragraph or two, but it is just enough to inform the reader.
Many stories are then written in full, with fact boxes provided to give basic background information in a non-patronising manner.
One can comfortably read the entire newspaper in under an hour. This is exactly what a daily newspaper should be. It doesn’t play dumb, it doesn’t over simplify but it’s not overly complex. It’s baby bear’s porridge, it’s just right.
The only issue for me is the future sustainability. The newspaper can’t be produced for 20p. It relies on people still paying £1 for The Independent. But this newspaper will cannibalise plenty of The Indy’s readers, myself included. It will hope to make this up in selling newspapers to people who don’t usually buy them. I hope it can, this is a great newspaper.