I had major reservations when I heard that The Independent was launching a new title aimed at twenty-something commuters. It seemed like a last-ditch attempt by the paper (circulation:180,000) to keeps its business afloat.
It has now been three days since “i” went on sale and, I have to admit, I rather like it. Unlike The Metro, which is aimed at the same audience, The Independent’s latest offering is not cluttered with inconsequential articles about celebrities and fashion; nor is it made up of news stories pulled straight from the Press Association newswire without any additional analysis.
Colourful and accessible, concise and intelligent, this paper (especially the “news matrix”) is perfect for the time-poor, information-hungry demographic who want to get an overview of the day’s news but are too busy to wade through pages of analysis in the broadsheets. For those who prefer commentary, “the comment matrix” is perfect. It pulls together op-ed columns from newspapers around the world, including The Moscow Times, The New York Times and The Jerusalem Post. Personally, I really enjoy the My View section, which gives a different person every day a platform to rally against a controversial issue, and I also hold a special place for “Bill Granger’s TV Dinners”, which inspired me this week to make a delicious Nasi goreng.
On the downside, news is sometimes a day old. For example, the paper splashed last Wednesday with the story about the killing of a 9ft-tall stag called The Emperor, even though the story dominated the news (including The Independent) the previous day.
Initial figures suggest that sales of the “i” exceeded expectations last week, but whether this was down to the hype surrounding the launch, only time will tell. Will I continue to read it ? I can’t be sure. The chances are I will combine it with a heftier weekend paper to appeal to the news junkie inside me.