News International's new free daily for London hit the streets of the capital with a perfect late-breaking tabloid story on the front – the death of dare-devil crocodile hunter Steve Irwin.
It also had a London-based celeb story on the front with news that Babyshambles singer Pete Doherty had been spared jail again after appearing in court on drug charges.
The new paper has a distribution of 400,000 and today went head to head today for the first time with Associated Newspapers’ London Lite, which also has a 400,000 print run.
The design of the new paper owes far more to the post-Berliner Guardian than London Lite which has a more traditional tabloid feel.
London Mayor Ken Livingstone has given the new paper an interview which runs to a double-page spread. Livingstone is an outspoken opponent of Associated Newspapers, the owners of London Lite.
Editor Stefano Hatfield says in his welcome letter: “We believe thelondonpaper is a different type of paper; one that actually likes the city we live in….
“We’re not the city’s spin doctors and we will tell the news as it is. But we have no political persuasion. We wouldn’t dream of suggesting a politician to vote for. That said, most of us care about social issues, such as the environment. We aim to be the forum for London debate.”
There is a page of business news, two pages of games, two pages of style and a two-page diary/celebs section.
There are only two pages of TV guide, compared with four pages in London Lite, and nine pages of entertainment listings.
The launch edition had two pages of health, a page of useful “London info”, a page called “thelondonlove” about dating and six pages of sport.
The first impression of one young professional Londoner were: “It’s smartly designed, with fairly over nods to the Guardian I think. There’s a good listings section, and it appears to be a lot more London-centric than London Lite.
“I found it surprisingly informative for a free. On first impressions I think I definitely prefer it to London Lite.”