In 1986 three men left the Daily Telegraph to found the Independent. Andreas Whittam Smith, Stephen Glover and Matthew Symonds made a credible, and creditable, attempt to launch an intelligent national broadsheet which is still going. Always underfunded and never able to compete coherently on news-gathering with its bigger and bolder rivals, the Indy remains the best possible choice for those who loathe the strident voices of the mainstream media and prefer a thoughtful and considered view of the world.
Which is why the launch this week of i, “the paper for today from the Independent”, is a bit of a surprise, possibly even a contradiction. Its main proposition appears to be that it is a paper-based news and comment content aggregator. If that is the case, why on earth would you buy it when wider and more timely examples of the genre are available online for nothing?
I sincerely applaud the enormous effort that went into the launch; getting any publication off the ground is tough and when it’s a daily newspaper, especially so. So good luck to Simon Kelner and his team; I hope it goes well for them and that my doubts are misplaced and wrong.