Tag Archives: newspapers

NEW DAY: CAN A NEWSPAPER REALLY BE FREE OF POLITICAL BIAS?

The press of a button and – BING! The sound emanates from my laptop as it awakens, a slide of the mouse, a few clicks later and at my fingertips I have instant access to every UK tabloid and broadsheet. All except one… The New Day.

On the 29th of February 2016, publishers Trinity Mirror, launched its audacious bid to revive print journalism with the release of The New Day – the first new standalone newspaper to be released in the past three decades.

So what makes The New Day different?

Well firstly, there isn’t a website, well not a website that offers any news, just one that provides a brief summary of the paper and a promise to deliver balanced opinion, which won’t “tell you what to think.” Though the only way to obtain its daily content is over the counter.

Secondly – and most significantly – what makes Britain’s first new newspaper in 30 years different is its intention is to stay free from political bias.

On its website, Trinity Mirror promotes The New Day as:

“[A newspaper that covers] news and topical content but with a modern style and tone, aimed at a wide audience of women and men who want something different from what is currently available. It will report with an upbeat, optimistic approach and will be politically neutral. It will cover important stories in a balanced way, without telling the reader what to think”.

Reaching out to the ‘time’ poor

The New Day has pushed out all the stops to get its message out to the British public. Free copies were available from 40,000 outlets on its day of release, followed by a promotional daily price of 25p for the first two weeks before continuing at its standard price of 50p. With most daily newspapers currently retailing around the £1 mark, surely, as game show host Leslie Crowther once said, “THE PRICE IS RIGHT. COME ON DOWN!”

Naturally, young adults are unlikely to remember Leslie Crowther as the first UK host of the popular game show to use that catch phrase, and as a study reported in The Daily mail found – just 12 percent of 18 to 34 year olds paid for a print newspaper in that year. It would appear a shrewd move that The New Day’s target readers are reported as being “time poor” 35 to 55 year olds.

Describing The New Day’s objectives the paper’s editor, Alison Phillips states:

“Because we’ve started from scratch, we’ve thrown out all the previous thinking on how a newspaper should be structured and started with a blank piece of paper.”

“The idea is that this paper should give you in 40 pages everything on any given day in a 30-minute read, without being bombarded with content you don’t need.”

Free from political bias?

To remain free of political bias, is that possible? It’s widely accepted that almost all UK based media has an affiliation to either left or right wing politics.

In an article from 2015, Ibtimes lists the UK’s most popular titles and the parties they endorsed for the 2015 general election:

The Independent: A Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition,The Sun (English edition): Conservatives, The Sun, (Scottish edition): SNP, The Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday: Conservatives, The Guardian: Labour, Financial Times: Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition, Independent on Sunday: Not endorsing, The Observer: Labour, The Economist: Conservative-led coalition, The Daily Telegraph: Conservatives, Evening Standard: Conservatives, and The Express: Ukip.

Recent research from YouGov reiterates the UK’s strong penchant for politically-biased press, particularly slanting to the right, stating:

“British people are the most likely to say their press is right wing out of seven European countries.”

Quizzical eyebrows are likely to be raised by many to read Labour-supporting Trinity Mirror and non-political bias in the same sentence. Indeed, will this knowledge be off-putting to readers for who’s political loyalties lean to the right? Will they even give The New Day a second glance? The New Day’s success will partly depend on whether they can convince the general public of its political neutrality.

Has it been done before? In a word, yes. In April 2010, The Independent – now available online only – re-launched its newspaper, claiming to be:

“Free from party-political ties” and “Free from proprietorial influence”, in an article posted in Press Gazette.

‘I’ do believe it is different!

Comparisons are already being made between The New Day and The Independent’ sister paper The I.

Alison Phillips, in an interview published for The New Statesman, insists:

“It’s not like the I,” she tells me. “It’s just not . . . It is a very different product to anything else that’s actually out there. We do have a digest of some news events. And then we have other stories that are done in far greater detail, with much more opinion and analysis.”

What is the outlook for The New Day?

It depends which angle you look from. News that The Independent has lost its battle to remain in print- now available online only – may not fill many people with confidence of the viability of such an enterprise. However, on the flip side, The New Day has something unique to offer, and if it can tempt customers to its pages and can consistently deliver unique content that will bring readers back for more, then, who knows?

A recent report in The Guardian suggests that The New Day has got off to a “terrible start”. The article states:

“Its publisher, Trinity Mirror, has refused to confirm reports that The New Day is selling fewer than 90,000 copies a day, and quite possibly many fewer than that.”

Can The New Day remain free of political bias? Of course it can. But is The New Day the right paper at the right time? To offer something new continually will certainly be challenging. Will it be given a fair chance – politically – by right-wing readers who regard Trinity Mirror as a politically left-wing supporting organisation?

Readers, who seek balanced political opinion and journalism will hope The New Day succeeds, or at least, hope it gives inspiration to the newspapers that follow.

This post was written by Aled Thomas, a freelance writer for PW Copy. PW Copy provide top-quality content for a wide range of brands, publications and companies. Get in touch for all your content requirements.

Share