By Mary-Louise Clews on 4th March 2016
A brave New Day?
This week saw the launch of The New Day. No, not the US CNN current affairs show, media geeks at the back. A new national daily newspaper from Trinity Mirror that is bidding to have a “new conversation” in an “open-minded, to-the-point and positive fashion just like you”.
I can hear their target audience in the tone used in the (£5m!) TV ad and the language used by the editor, Alison Phillips, in her women’s-magazine style intro letter. The message is clearly intended for hard-working family types who want to be informed and engaged, but are turned off by current newspaper brands. Perhaps they once read the Daily Express, or at least their parents did, way back when.
According to Phillips, the first national newspaper launch in the UK for 30 years understands that life can “be painful at times” but you’ve still “got to have a laugh as life’s too short”. It’s the kind of clichéd language traditional journalists either naturally despise, or have been trained hard to reject by uncompromising sub-editors.
That’s presumably why the paper says it has a “new team of writers” who want to start a “new conversation” by “talking” to readers rather than “shouting”. The fact that it’s being led by a safe pair of old Mirror hands in the shape of Phillips, who until taking up her new role was weekend editor at the red top isn’t highlighted. Not letting the facts get in the way of a good slogan is an old trick this new dog is being allowed to keep.
Aforementioned media geeks probably remember a trade weekly New Media Age – a dedicated title which covered the brave new web when it was fresh in the 90s and noughties. So it’s strange now to be talking about a new daily printed newspaper launch that is not only rejecting the ‘mobile first’ mantra- it doesn’t even intend to have a website other than a landing page.
This is a bold move from a veteran publisher of daily and regional UK newspapers that is rightly being congratulated by some for attempting to inject real optimism and confidence back into a sector that has been written off by many.
Media watchers have identified a gap in the market for good quality content curation, offering a quick, clear path through a complex mass of information for overloaded readers.
The New Day is clearly aiming to do this with its round-up of the news of the day in short, easily digestible ‘nib’ style stories. And its original features, such as exclusive coverage of a report into child carers on launch day, are eye-catching.
That said, with a cover price of 50p, it’s hard to see how it will persuade people to literally buy-in to an old idea of printing words and pictures on paper, no matter how many times the word ‘new’ is repeated.