The first new UK national newspaper since i launched six years ago hit newsstands this morning with a pledge to provide a “glass half-full outlook” on life.
The first edition was free and had a print run of two million.
It leads on a feature, rather than news, about a report claiming there are 40,000 infant carers in the UK plugging the gaps caused by government changes to social care budgets.
The title is pitched somewhere between the i and free daily Metro. It feels less densely packed and lighter than the i, more upmarket than the red-top tabloids and more substantial than Metro.
It appears to be a play for middle market female readers (most of the columnists are women) with a lighter touch than the Daily Express (lead story today: NEW JOBLESS BENEFIT SCANDAL) and the Daily Mail (EXPOSED: BLAIR’S LETHAL LIES ON IRAQ).
The price for New Day will settle down at 50p, 5p cheaper than the Express, 15p cheaper than the Mail and 10p more expensive than i.
The founding ethos of the new title is explained on page two.
- Here you’ll find no political bias. In fact we’ll give you both sides of the argument and let you make up your own mind
- And everyone can have a voice, be they Prime Minister or a passer-by on the street. Because both deserve to be heard
- Our stories will be selected to interest our readers, not to impress other journalists
- We aim to write like we speak. Like we’re doing here. Because we don’t think we’re anything special.
With only 25 dedicated editorial staff, New Day is more thinly resourced even than i (which has 30).
Those founding mantras can perhaps be translated as: 'we’re not going to be providing lots of exclusives, expect lots of content written by readers and we’re not going to be spending money on fine writing'.
On Friday one of New Day’s editors sent an email around to news agencies saying: “I am currently looking for a really amazing human story for the first day we launch. It can be tragic, happy (think medical miracles – but actually miracles, not just one in a thousand things), must have great pics.
“Please let me know if you have something you think could work! please also pass around your team. Must be exclusive and new.”
This gives some insight into the thinking, but judging by the day one splash the hoped-for story did not materialise (or if it did, it was snapped by another title with more money to spend).
For those who thought there was no room in the UK’s crowded national newspaper market for another title: think again. The New Day does have a point of difference: more feminine, lighter (without being dumbed down), brighter and refreshingly even handed and open minded.
Trinity Mirror has said it needs to reach 200,000 paid-for sales (the same as i) and perhaps The New Day will reach that target.
The challenge will be providing enough value for money with its small editorial team to persuade readers to part with 50p every day when Metro is free (albeit only available in the larger cities) and the Daily Mail provides so much more for 65p.
The huge pile of unclaimed New Days available at London Bridge WH Smith this morning (albeit at 7.30am) today suggested to me that readers were a little confused by it. The words 'free' dominated the front page, making it look like a free title (but one which wasn't being picked up). Merchandisers were needed (and may well have been in action elsewhere) to thrust New Day into people's hands.Without a jaw-dropping exclusive page-one story, New Day did not give a particular reason for the uninitiated to grab it.
The New Day at a glance
The editorial is a mixture of digested news round-ups (apparently drawn from the Mirror and PA) and longer features and comment pieces/explainers on the big issues of the day (always split for and against).
So pages four and five are “news essentials” and look similar to the the i’s News Matrix pages.
Alison Phillips says in a small editor’s letter: “We’re a small team of committed writers who want to talk to you, not shout at you.
“We know that life is often difficult and sometimes painful. And we’ll reflect that. But we want to have a laugh too. Life’s too short not to.”
Pages four and five are the front-page feature on young carers.
Page eight is a come-on to readers to write in and is called “share it”, and will be a page of reader-generated content.
Page nine –"Secret and spies" – provides an explanation of the “snoopers’ charter” and brief arguments for and against.
Ten and 11 are “everyone’s talking about it” – lighter gossip and showbiz style stories taken from social media.
On pages 12 and 13 are arguments for and against leaving the EU with a piece bylined by David Cameron versus a piece by an art teacher.
On page 17 are “opinioneers” on whether celebrity Cheryl Fernandez-Versini’s romance with a pop star ten years her junior is “doomed”.
Two pages of sports digest are on 17 and 18, more digested “people news” on 18 and a massive picture off Earth taken from the International Space Station on pages 20 and 21.
On pages 22 and 23 there was a novel idea: three child actors pretended to be bullying a fourth, and the resultant reactions from passers by form the basis of the report. While there is no New Day website, the video is viewable on the title’s Facebook page.
On page 24 there is more digested news (3 minute update) and a column from comedian Russell Kane on 25.
Sport opinioneers are on 26 and 27.
Other content includes: a relationships advice column, a first person piece from a woman with terminal cancer who is getting married, a two-page feature on how to live for free and an in-depth feature on maltreatment of albino children in Tanzania.