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Brave New World

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What a fascinating year 2016 has been for the parallel worlds of politics and newspapers in the UK.

These two entities have enjoyed an uneasy symbiotic relationship ever since the first UK newspaper, the London Gazette, launched on 7th Nov 1665. Around the same time, the burgeoning democratic government was born out of the blood bath of the Civil War.

The EU referendum on 23rd June generated an explosion in British politics which created a hunger for information. This benefited the ever declining newspaper market; nearly all national newspapers witnessed a rise in sales in the weeks following the results.

The newspaper industry has also witnessed seismic events of its own this year:

  • February saw the launch of Trinity Mirror’s ‘New Day’, marketed as a fresh upbeat newspaper aimed at women. Never fully delivering on this admittedly nebulous remit, New Day didn’t grasp a firm loyal readership and fell short of the required 200,000 copies it needed to sell to turn a profit; it ceased publishing within 2 months.
  • March witnessed the final printed copies of the Independent and Independent on Sunday as the publication moved to an online only version. The Independent had been a ground breaker during its 30 year lifespan. It changed from broadsheet to tabloid in 2003, a move the Guardian and Times subsequently followed. This change of format unleashed a creative spirit leading to eye catching front page images, a style also later mimicked by other national newspapers.
  • 24, a daily newspaper for the North of England launched on 20th June promising an alternative to the “south-dominated” national press published by the Carlisle-based CN Group. Timing could have worked against this launch as it preceded the EU Referendum by less than a week. Ultimately, it failed to ignite enthusiasm amongst the target audience and also closed within a couple of months.
  • Then Archant published The New European in July. The New European is possibly the fastest newspaper launch in history, rapidly conceived, produced and printed to reach the 48% who voted to stay in the EU following the Brexit vote. Given the appeal to a large but clearly defined mass audience, the novel idea of this ‘pop-up‘ newspaper seems to have taken hold with its readers. The initial proposal to print 4 weekly issues has been extended.

It has succeeded where others have failed, possibly through offering a strong proposition and something different from the other titles on the newsstands. It is a weekly publication so doesn’t propose to break news stories but to offer opinion, comment and analysis from a defined perspective. It is available for download so can also be read digitally.

...watching the New European succeed is refreshing and offers a hopeful glimmer of light in the print market...

Launching a print newspaper in the digital age is an act of bravery. It wasn’t altogether surprising to see those that failed but watching the New European succeed is refreshing and offers a hopeful glimmer of light in the print market.

Vanessa Lenton – Head of Regional Media

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