Media

October 27, 2015 at 11:14

i turns five: What the readers said about Britain's youngest newspaper

i turns five: What the readers said about Britain's youngest newspaper

Several years ago my GP advised me to stop reading the Daily Mail and change to i. Since then my blood pressure has returned to normal (Barbara Williams from North Yorkshire)

Congratulations to i on your 5th birthday. You have defied the doubters and quickly established yourself as an innovative campaigning paper. Good luck for the future.

DAVID CAMERON, PRIME MINISTER

I love i. It’s a good read and handy size. When I’m not cycling, it’s the perfect read from Finsbury Park to Westminster by train.

JEREMY CORBYN, LABOUR LEADER

Happy Birthday to i – well and truly alive at 5! Farewell to the gloomsters who said i wouldn’t work – here’s to the power of print. 

Best wishes, Boris.

BORIS JOHNSON, MAYOR OF LONDON

A success story in modern newspapers deserves a birthday drink.

NIGEL FARAGE, UKIP LEADER

Congratulations to everyone at i. It’s  a great read and  that rarest of things,  a thoughtful,  independent-minded  and liberal (with a small ‘l’) newspaper that takes politics and current affairs seriously. Getting  to five years is no mean feat for a new paper in what was  supposed to be a  declining market – long may your  success continue.

NICK CLEGG, DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER 2010-2015

Congratulations to i on reaching its 5th birthday. The newspaper has been innovative, informative and entertaining in its first five years and I look forward to its continuing success in the years to come.

NICOLA STURGEON, FIRST MINISTER, SCOTLAND

It’s great to see i reach this milestone. The paper’s focus on the NHS financial crisis, staffing shortage and the ongoing A&E crisis has been relentless and the paper is to be commended for that.

ANDY BURNHAM, SHADOW HOME SECRETARY

Several years ago my GP advised me to stop reading the Daily Mail and change to i. Since then my blood pressure has returned to normal.

BARBARA WILLIAMS, NORTH YORKSHIRE

I was nine when the first issue was published and I have read i ever since. I was excited by the prospect of a new newspaper! I remember how everyone said it was mad that someone was trying to set up a new paper. Five years on and who looks mad now?! I choose i because I love what it offers. The Page 3 Matrix gives me at-a-glance news for the last 24 hours and I enjoy The Page 3 Profile, because it makes a positive contrast from semi-naked women! I really enjoy reading through IQ too. 

JOSHUA POVEY, ESSEX

Congratulations – I am 90 years ahead, going towards my 96th birthday. I only became an i reader this year and would not change, as I find your reporting accurate and well-balanced. I particularly enjoy the contributions by Yasmin Alibhai-Brown and Janet Street-Porter – strongly-held but sensible views. Your weather page is one of the best, in fact I find something of interest on every page, even including business pages. I guess, as I head toward my century, it helps to stimulate the ancient grey matter!

I am a survivor, went through WW2, from day one until the very end, firstly with Bomber Command and then in the India/Burma campaign against the Japanese. Still driving my 2013 car, shopping and cooking for myself – I lost my beloved after 65 years together, but life must go on. Oh and I have a “toy girl” – a very active widow of 89!

So there you have a thumbnail sketch of one of your very senior but recent readers.Best Regards, 

JOHN B ARMSTRONG, FLT. LT. (RTD)

Can’t believe it’s five years since I heard James Naughtie announce a new daily on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme. I bought a copy that day and have rarely missed since. I’ve recommended i to everyone, and with a subscription it’s the absolute best value. Happy days for your readers!

PRU BANKES PRICE, NEWQUAY, CORNWALL

Happy 5th Birthday to i. Not only surviving and thriving in a competitive market but named Newspaper of the Year 2015. An astonishing achievement and one that the whole team should be rightly proud of. Here’s to the next five years.

BEN FOGLE

I had just given birth to twins and enjoyed a concise but quality paper to see me through many night feeds. Been reading it ever since.

MORAG ATKINSON

I have been with you from the start. i’s appeal – apart from fine journalism – is you allow us to make up our minds. No angles or rhetoric, treating readers as grown-ups. It’s been a great journey.

GERRY PIMM, NORTHWOOD, MIDDLESEX

Only just started reading i. Love it. Proper news, no junk like other papers.

PETER MCDONOUGH 

The consistently high quality of your crosswords, the price and the fact that I don’t get a rainforest’s-worth of supplements falling out of every issue is why I buy your paper, even if I don’t necessarily agree politically with your editorials!

GARY COLE, SURBITON, SURREY

i saved my sanity during the  May election and ever since I have been grateful to it for giving us the facts about what is going on in the Labour Party, the country and the rest of the world. No ghastly mud-slinging or about Jeremy Corbyn. Just facts and a bit of editorial comment. 

The news is concise; I can read the whole paper, which I was never able to do with The Guardian, which was my paper for years. The variety of political views of your letter writers also makes for a lively read. It is the best of all the newspapers by a long way. My daughter also admires i. This paper makes a difference to every day. I have withdrawal symptoms if I can’t buy it.

THEA THOMPSON, LONDON

Why i? Well, it’s informative, unbiased, well-written, concise without being too brief (apart from the News Matrix, which we like!), is not London-centric, has many brilliant regular journalists and also occasional ones from all sides of the political spectrum.

It doesn’t treat readers like fools and responds to readers’ letters, suggestions and queries with enthusiasm. Long may you continue.

PAULA AND JOHN SAUNDERS, ST ALBANS

Happy 5th birthday! I’m 15 and my parents bought me a subscription last Christmas because I have been reading i daily for a couple of years now. It is definitely the best newspaper on the shelves and as a subscriber, 18p is ridiculously good value for money. Long may it continue!

DOM TAYLOR, EXETER 

Can’t believe it’s only five years since I bought the first edition. i seems to be a fixture in my life now and I rely upon the publication to keep me reliably informed on national and international issues. i revived my interest in taking a daily newspaper and, as a regular reader, I feel rather possessive, as I would toward my local weekly newspaper. I hope we can grow old together.

MARGARET SCHOFIELD 

I have not been a habitual newspaper reader for most of my adult life, but my attitude changed when i came out.

It is a “real” newspaper, in that it reports the latest news and discusses important current affairs, without rambling on.

It is exceptionally well-designed and the quality of the writing is outstanding. Contributors write incisively and perceptively, without the self-indulgent verbosity found in most other newspapers.

That is why I have become a regular newspaper reader at the age of 55... ... but only if it’s i.

Happy Birthday!

NIKKI BRADLEY 

Why do I buy i? Concise, no gimmicks, no waffle, a thoroughly good read and the personality of our journalists shines through. Five years – here’s to the next 50! 

JUDITH AMIES

Why do I, a 67-year-old lifelong Mail reader buy i? Simple, I need to balance, without verbosity, some of the Mail’s more bonkers views. I would however take you to task on one issue. When reporting on the US primaries, what on earth is the GOP? We’re not all experts, you know. 

Thanking you all for a fine newspaper that often reaches the parts that others can’t. 

DAVID DREW

Great newspaper, astonishing quality and subscription value. 

PHILIP INGHAM

Why i? Brilliant editorials, excellent informative journalism, well-designed layout, value for money, involvement with readers and the most comprehensive national newspaper coverage of the 2015 election manifestos. You are deservedly the national newspaper of the year. 

Congratulations.

FRANCES MAY, PLYMOUTH

A big high five to everyone, past and present, for a marvellous paper. I missed a few of the earlier editions but now enjoy the daily read, smiling at the odd spelling errors and guessing which words are missing when an item ends abruptly. I presume the proof reader missed something. 

Here’s to the next five years, enjoy the party.

MARGARET OAKLEY

1. Conciseness, 2. Reporting, 3. Price, 4. Crossword (see 1). And another thing – if there was an “i on Sunday” I would buy that too.

LARRY HARRIS, HAY ON WYE

Thank you for five years of interesting, thoughtful and challenging reporting at an amazing price!

ROSEMARY HUSSAIN, BEDFORDSHIRE

I’ve read many different newspapers down the years, but I’ve never felt so attached to one before. 

It feels like i really is mine and speaks for my values. The arts, sport, comment and balanced news make it feel like a trusted friend which is with me every day. 

I love the layout, features and weather pages too. 

Long may you continue to produce one of the best bargains in Britain!

MIKE DAY, READING        

Your broad coverage doesn’t reinforce prejudices and encourages re-evaluation of perspectives and opinion. Household conversations have never been so robust and challenging! 

DAVID ROSTER PHILLIPS

Happy 5th birthday. Been taking i since it was born. Happy with the format – but could you check your spelling, it drives my  hubby mad? 

Please keep it real.

MARGARET GORDON 

I can easily read it from cover to cover. The news is presented in a reader-friendly manner with more complex issues briefly explained in a non-patronising way. 

You have an excellent group of journalists, many of whom are specialists in their field. There is also a smattering of humour and irony which makes all things more digestible.

I never feel overwhelmed by the length of articles and find it a relaxing and informative daily read. I look forward to it! Keep up the good work.

BEVERLEY YOUNG, LINCOLNSHIRE

Short of time, I stay informed. To keep the cogs turning I like a daily dose of the concise crossword. 

SUE WHYTE

It’s my type of paper, straight to the point with news, without pages and pages of sh*te!

THOMAS ANTHONY CARROLL

Please cease and desist the use of sloppy Americanisms. Cheers –  and keep on being top daily.

STEVE HILL, LEEDS

To the Editor and all staff: i has given me a voice. I feel I matter. No other newspaper comes close.

JOHN ANDERSON, DEVON

I first started reading i five years ago because it was the perfect paper to read on my hour-long commute between Stirling and Edinburgh. Now a student, I still love i because it is such a good quality read.

FIONN HARGREAVES

As a mum of two small children it’s perfect for keeping me informed of current affairs, and the comment/feature articles are perfect for when they’re mercifully asleep! 

EMMA SMITH

I have read i from day one. I read it from cover to cover Monday to Friday, and buy Saturday’s i to read in bed on Sunday. I like the fact that most articles are precise and concise, and the regular use of columnists such as Mark Steel. His brand of satire suits me well.

BRIONY STANDLEY

I have read i from day one. I bought my oldest grandchild, Isaac Crofts, a subscription for his 13th birthday and he well understands many news issues! I want him and his two sisters, now 10 and 12, and Oscar, 7, to value newspapers and journalism through the balanced political, social and economic education you best represent. The other three already dip in. At five, Oscar was intrigued enough by the crossword to have a go and enter random letters! “Give me the child until he is seven” remains as true today as ever. Readers, start them young! Oliver, go on feeding them! Happy birthday!

MERVYN BENFORD

A quality read that enriches my very busy day. I dip into i in between school runs, serving dinner, waiting at ballet and swimming classes and, more importantly, when I am taking my five minutes of peace time.

ANOUSKA CLARK

I first started reading i while having cancer treatment. I’d never been able to afford to buy a decent daily newspaper, so when i appeared I thought I’d indulge myself and give it a try. Such a great idea! Terrific contributions from some of the best writers in their fields (Alexander Fury is a particular favourite) served up in a digestible format. I was a fan from the start and recommend it at every opportunity. It never failed to give me perspective on life and the world in general.

KATE PATTINSON

I have bought this paper since turning 18 to give me a concise, quality report of the news without any gossip or unnecessary information.

GEORGE WHITE

I always call i the “little one”. At a glance, readers like me get to know what we need to know in an instant. Five years have passed and much has changed in the world and our own lives, but i has remained as a constant digest. Growing alongside its rivals like an oak from an acorn, i is akin to a young tree, growing upwards, hopefully for a long time to come. 

FIONA ANDERSON

Thank you for enabling me to afford to get a paper delivered every morning, to be able to read unbiased, factual and concise reporting. Thank you also for making me feel as if my opinion is worth something by printing some of my letters.

JOHN SHANKS, FIFE

The paper that accompanied me from sixth form to university to work. Quality news for prices to suit all budgets. Thanks for keeping real newspaper journalism alive.

ROD ARDEHALI

I’ve only missed one copy since you started and it is my paper of record, rather than The Times which I pick up at the same time.

JOHN HATTON

Before i, I had not bought a daily newspaper for over 30 years. I could never stomach biased editorial, puerile feature items and the propagandist nature of those “newspapers” previously available. I only wanted a concise, quality digest of real news. You have managed to supply that need. Thank you and congratulations.

EDDIE WESTFIELD 

I’ve been an avid i reader ever since being ridiculed in a lecture at university for reading the Daily Mail. I love reading the paper thoroughly on my commute to work, and tackling the codeword every evening on my way home!

VICTORIA BOORMAN

I grew up in a household where my parents alternated between the Mail and the Express, switching every time one or the other got too annoying. I was glad when i launched, as it fulfilled my want for a small, inexpensive paper without a red-top sensibility or a huge wodge of boring sports pages. Okay, the sports section has grown a bit, but still it’s the best and only option for me. Keep it up! 

DAVE WILLIAMS 

Congratulations to your contributors such as Simon Kelner, Janet Street-Porter, Andrew Grice, Grace Dent, the subversive Mark Steel and of course Matthew Norman who always provide us with such thought-provoking material. i is fair, well-conceived and has excellent editorship to sail the paper into safe waters. Your correspondents are representative of all parts of Britain. 

JUDITH A DANIELS, COBHOLM, GREAT YARMOUTH

Can’t believe it’s five years. Love the i, as does my mum. We like to buy both of our papers together just to hear the checkout person say “You know you have two is”...

STEPH KNOWLSON 

Never thought I’d become a daily paper reader. I love i and read avidly til I get to the puzzles, then stop. You may guess I’m not a sports fan, so if it’s cheaper, you could perhaps print my copy without the last few pages! Keep up the standards and your good work. It’s appreciated.

BOB NISBET 

Exactly what it says on the tin – high quality reportage of the daily news and bursting with features which always grip me or make me laugh. I’m a young journalist and look to i for inspiration. i has taught me to be a thoughtful writer and an interrogative reader.

SADIE LEVY GALE

An excellent and very friendly newspaper. It is manageable. A wide variety of views are expressed without undue political persuasion, and your frequent requests for readers’ assistance in shaping the format are a winner.

RON PORTER, HARROW

Why i? I could list 100 reasons. I have purchased every issue since day one. I even get my father to pick up i from the newsagents for me when I’m away on a break!  My brother and nephew are regular readers too - on my advice. It has revolutionised newspaper reading – superb quality at an exceptional price. 

ROB JACKSON, MANCHESTER

I like how you include a multitude of voices. Some of these will irk me considerably, but your willingness to publish perspectives from across the spectrum enables understanding of others – something sorely needed in today’s increasingly partisan world. The owner and staff should be proud of the way the paper has become established and developed over the past five years. What’s not to like? (Aside from a bit too much football coverage.)

PETER PATCHING, WORCESTERSHIRE

A hearty Mazal Tov on your achievements. My newsagent recommended i to me after I moaned about The Torygraph and Times being too right-wing for me and The Grauniad being anti-Israel – and I love her for it! My yearly subscription gives me the assurance of a great read every day. 

IRENE JACOBSON

I got i every day in sixth form and read it on the bus to school. Four years later, I’m studying an MA in Newspaper Journalism at City University and working as a freelance journalist. 

MATT BROOMFIELD

Very few papers try to report news in a balanced and unbiased way. That is why i is so very valuable to us and deserves every success. Thank goodness for i – it is a crucial part of true democracy. 

MIKE CORNICK, PENHOW, NEWPORT

What makes you great? Lots of news, less hassle. Plenty of politics, no slant. Enough advice, enough adverts. Good arts scene, good crossword. Here’s to the next five years!

FAY WATSON

We still have His and Hers copies every morning, and encourage friends to dump their newspapers to try a quality production. 

JOHN AND VIV HOPPER

Whilst the celebrity bit is a turn-off, the concise information and unbiased reporting on a wide range of subjects puts all other papers to shame.

JULIAN ROBINSON, NORTH YORKSHIRE

I discovered i by chance about four years ago and immediately cancelled my subscription to The Times, a decision I have not regretted for a moment since. 

PETER FRYER, LEICESTERSHIRE

This year we have subscribed both on the iPad and in print. Hearing i drop on the doormat each morning is one of the most gratifying sounds of our day. Happy Birthday.

MIKE PRINCE, HAMPSHIRE

I love i because it’s designed for time-challenged people like me who want to read succinct, pertinent stories without trawling through masses of irrelevant “non news”. 

FRAN LIGHT

Is it really five years since we started reading i? It still has that fresh feeling.

MOI RYAN-AINSLIE 

Five years of independent, rational, informative reporting without hidden agenda. Long may you continue to be a trusted voice of the Fourth Estate. 

JANET KELLY

Concise but still good, clear reporting. You manage to cover so many current topics. i shows how to write properly – without waffle or filler. Love it, keep it up please!

ABIGAIL JOHNSON 

I confess to not having been in on the birth. T’was but a few months down the line when I discovered the new baby of the newspaper world, and from that day I have – to the best of my memory – not missed one issue, and even today, such is the paper’s popularity, I often have to hunt down my copy.

BRIAN DAVIES, SUFFOLK

An alternative to the usual shouty tabloid noise. I never took a daily newspaper until i came along, now I read it every day. To my surprise i is one of the few news outlets that actually recognises a world outside of London.

ALEX SMITH, NUNEATON

Just the kind of paper I was waiting for. I buy it every day and have been doing so since you started printing. Clear, concise and tells me everything I need to know. Keep up the good work!

CAROLE NICHOLSON 

It’s refreshing to read unbiased and true news in a newspaper. After years of bias via the Express I’ve enjoyed my three years with your paper.

GERRY MELROSE

While i has changed and evolved, it remains the best of the British press. i represents what newspapers should be: high-quality, clear and honest reporting with no hyperbole. 

MHAIRI NISBET

i packs so much in. i makes you think, but does not tell you how to think.

ANDY COLEBY, MORTIMER, BERKSHIRE

i campaigns

iVote (ongoing)

Encourages mass voter registration and hosts political iDebates around the country – so far in Cardiff, Manchester, Edinburgh, Leeds and Bournemouth. Support for Bite the Ballot, the youth-activism movement which managed to sign up 441,696 people to vote in one week.

Back to School (ongoing)

Encourages people to return to their old state schools to give pupils inspiration and advice on careers. Partner charity Future First now has 140,000 alumni signed up.

Homeless Veterans appeal (2014)

Campaign for ex-servicemen and women who have fallen on hard times, organised with The Independent and Evening Standard. It raised £1.3m for Veterans Aid and  ABF The Soldiers’ Charity.

Elephant Appeal (2013)

Working with charity Space for Giants, the campaign raised £575,000 to combat the poaching crisis that costs the lives of 100 elephants a day, killed for their ivory.

Child Soldiers (2012)

Helping former child soldiers rebuild their lives, supporting Unicef UK’s projects. The campaign raised £270,000.

Other 2010 new arrivals

* One Direction forms.

* Instagram, Apple’s iPad and Uber all launch.

* David Cameron becomes the 75th Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

* The cruise ship MS Queen Elizabeth launches, capable of carrying up to 2,092 passengers.

* Cristiano Ronaldo Jnr is born.

* The tallest man-made structure to date, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, opens, standing at 829m.

* Kim Jong-un appears in public with his father, before succeeding him as North Korea’s supreme leader a year later.

* Iceland’s ash cloud, created by an eruption beneath the Eyjafjallajokull glacier, forces airspace closures across northern Europe.

* Instrument of torture the vuvuzela features at Africa’s first World Cup, in South Africa. Says Nelson Mandela: “This is more than just a game: it symbolises the power of football to bring people together from all over the world, regardless of language, the colour of one’s skin, political or religious persuasion.” Spain win.

* Luis Suarez’s teeth. The footballer is caught biting an opponent in a Dutch Eredivisie match. “I do not regret what happened,” he said, proving his point by going on to bite players in the Premier League and 2014 World Cup.

* Bill Gates and Warren Buffett ask the world’s billionaires to sign The Giving Pledge, promising to donate half of their wealth to solving world problems.

* Denisova hominins. 41,000-year-old human finger bone discovered in Siberia is a scientific sensation. DNA proves it belongs to a previously unknown species of human, and challenges the idea of human evolution as a simple, single line, from ape to human.

What the critics said...

“i for ill-conceived and, ultimately, ill-fated”

The Independent has opted to create an additional brand aimed at increasing its overall market share and complementing its existing title. Except that won’t happen. For all the talk of a new brand for a new target segment, i is actually going to be produced by the same journalists that work on the current paper. The reality for The Independent is that it cannot afford to actually create and deliver a distinct product for this segment. And even if it could, this elusive target segment wouldn’t buy it anyway.

Not only will i fail, it will leave The Independent in even worse shape. Like most companies launching a “sister brand” to alleviate poor sales, The Independent is about to learn that the last thing it needed was a new brand. 

At its launch last week, there was much debate about exactly what i actually stood for. Can I suggest irrelevant, ill-conceived and, ultimately, ill-fated.

By Mark Ritson, Marketing Week, 3 November 2010

i lives up to its name – it’s a digest of its big brother

Will people rushing to work take the trouble to stop and pay 20p for it rather than pick up their free Metro? Then there is the most obvious problem that faces the whole print market: can any paper supplant the enthusiasm among young people to consume their news and opinion online? I wish it well, of course. It would be wrong to rain on the parade of any publisher and editor willing to launch into this dismal market. But I would be surprised if it can locate that mysterious young audience that, for a variety of reasons - mainly cultural and technological - have turned their backs on print.

By Roy Greenslade, The Guardian,  26 October 2010

Can i crack the newspaper market?

Brightly-coloured i has the look and feel of Metro, the national free newspaper which claims to have got a new generation reading newspapers. But its content is a good deal weightier, not least in the columnists.

Of course, some will call any launch of a new national newspaper foolhardy, and under its previous owners The Independent would never have made the investment. But if it does not work – or works too well and takes sales from the mothership – some observers believe the idea of a free national newspaper may still be on the cards.

By Torin Douglas, BBC News, 26 October 2010

The Independent lays an egg – but will i fly?

The great risk, of course, is that i cannot learn to fly. So these coming weeks are crucial. Will the paper catch the zeitgeist (Kelner’s phrase, not mine)? Will it discover the holy grail by attracting new, young readers? Will it steal readers away from other titles? Will it secure new advertising?

Will it be a golden egg? Like nearly all veteran print journalists, I am sceptical. 

By Roy Greenslade (again), 25 October 2010

See also: “Why i is not attracting readers”,  “Will the arrival of i mean newspaper readers will desert The Independent?”, etc.

Best-selling front pages

2011

Out of control: riots reach crisis point

Britain plunges into credit card debt

Freed! Amanda Knox appeal upheld

Bin Laden killed in his lair – Now the West fears reprisals

Norway stunned by terror attacks

2012

‘This is the worst crisis in 50 years at the BBC’

The great granny tax grab

Hillsborough: the truth at last

Scientists prove ‘God particle’ exists

Dishonest Britain – lying and adultery becoming more acceptable

2013

Champion – Andy Murray wins Wimbledon

Chancellor’s ‘drown your sorrows’ budget

Thatcher: the final farewell

MPs reject Syria strikes

UK will be back in the black – but not until 2019

2014

Storms wipe £1bn off British economy

Corrie star  cleared of sex attacks

Osborne’s Budget for pensioners and savers

Scotland writes history

Welfare reforms hit two million poorest families

2015

Missing: 1 million voters

Killer pilot in the cockpit

Osborne’s cash-for-votes Budget

You Decide

Major discovery in fight against prostate cancer

Tags: The Independent

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