…yes, it is.
For those of you that checked Twitter this morning and didn’t think the current WWE Tag Team Champions were trending for no good reason, you’ll have made the sensible assumption that today was the first print run of Trinity Mirror’s brand new ‘notpaper’ ‘The New Day’.
From its slightly glossier feel, the off-bright turquoise, yellow/green and orange colour scheme to its seemingly completely unbiased standpoint, The New Day looks to fill a number of gaps in constantly shifting world of print media.
Editor Allison Phillips aims to address curiosity and the inevitable uncertainty met at corner shops and train stations the length and breadth of the UK with an inside cover ‘manifesto’, of sorts. But, how accurate is that manifesto in terms of representation and the position this new medium will adapt?
““They’re launching another newspaper? But we have the internet now. They must be daft.” Well quite.”
From the get-go, you could interpret this new venture as being on the back-foot – a microcosm of an industry that’s been on the back-peddle since a little bit before your mum said: ‘Oh, I’m on Facebook and Instagram now.’ Their very first line is a ‘*sigh* Yes, we know what you’re thinking, guys…’
Followed immediately by: “We would of course be completely daft if what we were launching was just another newspaper. But it’s not.”
It definitely isn’t. I’d wager a large number of people who picked up their free copy this morning flipped straight over to the back page, where you would expect to be greeted by the sport pages – it’s an inherent trope of British newspapers (more on this later). In fact, there are no discernible sections to ‘The New Day’ whatsoever. Unsettling, but not destructive.
“Here you’ll find no political bias….everyone can gave a voice, be they the Prime Minister or passer-by on the street. Because both deserve to be heard.”
Pretty much spot on, there’s a column from the man himself, David Cameron, justifying his position on the EU Referendum lined-up side-by-side with an undecided, mother of two from London. Arguments for ‘in’, arguments for ‘out’. So far, so bi-partisan.
“We’ve no weekly columnists. But loads of opinions. All different. And we’ll have good news not just bad. Like life.”
Firstly, there seems to be a little bit of pulled wool-meets-eyes going on here, ‘no weekly columnists’ may be an interesting standpoint – keeping things fresh from week to week. However, there’s an obvious reliance on agency-produced work (keeping costs down) and a fair few of articles/features that have a wide time-sensitivity on them.
Secondly, there’s absolutely no doubt the tone of The New Day is much, much more positive than any other newspaper you’d have seen it lined up against this morning. Does that mean they sacrifice real news for the sake of being positive? No. Not, really. In fact, the lack of ‘here’s your completely up-to-date, last second before deadline’ update for the morning looks completely purposeful. Perhaps the first daily to concede the breaking morning news battle to Twitter. Although their lack of League Cup Final coverage is bordering on the unforgiveable – the second biggest domestic trophy for the UK’s most watched sport and not even a printed result? Criminal.
“We’ll tell you everything you need to know without bombarding you.”
18 – That’s the number of 50-word-ish articles (plus an editorial foreword) that appear on pages four and five of the first edition of The New Day. If that isn’t a bombardment, what is? From actor Frank Kelly’s death to a picture of this year’s ‘World Naked Bike Ride’ kicking off in Australia (which, fact-fans, does happen in Brighton…annually…) to the refugees stranded in Greece, it does cover a lot in a short space, which is exactly what they’re aiming for, ‘informed not overloaded’, in their own words.
“Even the sport is in the wrong place.”
“Because we want to create a paper without men’s sections and women’s sections. We know women are interested in a whole lot more than diets and handbags. And men don’t want no-go areas in their paper.”
Where to begin with this?
What constitutes a ‘men’s section’? Fairly sure they mean ‘sport’ there, (more than willing to be corrected), to which the obvious question arises ‘why worry about that in the first place?’. We’re well beyond the times of assuming that the only people who read the back pages (sorry, apparently pages 16-17 and 26-27) are men and men alone.
Then there’s the fact that, on the flipside of the first page of sport is an article based purely on the merits of ‘age-gap relationships’ with Loose Woman, Carol McGiffin and writer and author Melissa Kite debating.
Again, an assumption, but I can practically hear the mass-page turning of a lot more than just men.
The New Day’s outward protests of being different from the rest would lead you to believe that these articles and features based on purely aesthetical terms were a thing of the past. Literally asking if a celebrity relationship (that has only been public knowledge for a few hours) is ‘doomed’ are a thing of the past. If you want to do gossip, do gossip – it has its place in the world, amongst ALL people, not just women, but you would have thought this attempt at a fresh look would see this kind of toxic opining would be dropped. Disappointing.
Sectioning a newspaper with colour-coded top bars, or broadly printed subject titles in the corner exists for a reason – people like to know where to look for the things they enjoy the most. Personally, as mentioned, sport is an early port of call, but others would go directly for lifestyle and the like – with The New Day, there’s no idea where to look.
“Finally, we aim to write like we speak. Like we’re doing here.”
Can’t fault that, they do. There’s even an appearance from the ever-divisionary ‘LOL’. So that’s definitely a big old tick in that box.
“So give it time. It might take some getting used to. But we think you’ll be glad you did.”
It will. There’s no doubting that. The New Day is seemingly attempting to pour itself into the gaps between ‘women’s magazines’, the ‘i’ newspaper and a printed version of Buzzfeed (everything is numbered lists, nowadays people, get used to it).
Overall, there is substance to what their TV advertising campaign suggested – something different and unbiased to sink your teeth into every morning. There are clearly some problems that need straightening out (*cough* sectioning wouldn’t hurt *cough*) and the tactic of relying on a constantly shifting bank of writers to produce top quality every day will prove itself over time, but The New Day definitely does fit into a niche that hasn’t been filled before.
At once, it’s a newspaper and lifestyle magazine while trying to be neither. Like a slightly more middle-class ShortList. Their front page bearing a feature, rather than the scaremongering tactics we’re used to staring back at us from the newsstand, is a breath of fresh air too, which is why The New Day will more than likely have a longer stay than some would have you believe.
Like all the best and worst things in life, time will tell us where The New Day will be remembered in the annals of historically noteworthy media. Most importantly, whether it makes the public, in general, reconsider the way they approach print media could be the make-or-break point.
By Stuart Buchanan.