Long life

Reading the Mirror’s new newspaper makes me want to throw myself on a bonfire

If the New Day succeeds it will be a sign of the irreversible decline of newpapers

5 March 2016

9:00 AM

5 March 2016

9:00 AM

On Monday I went to the newsagent to buy the newspapers and picked up the first issue of a new one calling itself the New Day. This is the creation of the company that publishes the Daily Mirror, and it is, the publishers say, intended to appeal to people who have given up reading newspapers, people now so numerous that they are rapidly bringing the industry to its knees.

The paper’s rather odd title is reminiscent of the carefree song ‘Many a New Day’ from Oklahoma!, and it is presumably intended to emphasise what the publishers call its ‘optimistic approach’. ‘We like to think we’re a modern, upbeat newspaper for modern, glass-half-full kind of people,’ writes its editor Alison Phillips in her introductory letter to readers. ‘We know life is often difficult and sometimes painful. And we’ll reflect that,’ she goes on. ‘But we want to have a laugh too. Life’s too short not to.’ ‘Life’s short. Let’s live it well’ is also the paper’s slogan.

It is exciting to find a new newspaper being published at a time of such trouble for the press, but how does the New Day intend to survive? It says it hopes to settle down profitably with a sale of around 200,000 copies a day at a cover price of 50p; but if it’s going to appeal to people who don’t like newspapers, it must clearly be very different from those already on sale, and in this it does not disappoint. For one thing, it promises to be politically neutral and to let its readers form their own opinions. (It publishes no leading articles, for example.) For another, to judge at least from the first issue, it does hardly any original reporting.


There is an ‘exclusive’ ‘top story’ about thousands of children aged between five and seven being made to become carers for disabled parents or relatives because of cuts in social-care budgets. An alarming situation, indeed, but seemingly one exposed only as a result of an ‘exclusive’ reading of a report by a charity called Carers Trust — a report that is available for anybody to read on the charity’s website. The rest of the paper is filled with opinion columns, explanatory briefings, and snippets of news probably lifted from news agencies or similar sources.

The paper’s impartiality is shown by taking an issue, such as Theresa May’s ‘snooper’s charter’ (the somewhat less than impartial phrase it uses to describe her Investigatory Powers Bill), and publishing ‘for’ and ‘against’ articles about it. But in the case of the EU referendum the balance is rather more lopsided, with an anti-Brexit article by David Cameron set against one by an ‘undecided mum-of-two’ from London saying she needs more information in order to make up her mind. An extra fillip to the pro-EU cause is given by a news item claiming that The Gruffalo children’s book would never have happened if its German illustrator, Axel Scheffler, had not had the right to study in England.

One wouldn’t read the New Day for its coverage of world events, since there hardly is any, so what would one read it for? For laughs? For entertainment? For stimulation? For controversy? I wouldn’t, anyway. The only reason I can think of to read it is to find out how ‘modern, half-glass-full kind of people’ think and talk. Take this opening sentence of its coverage of the Oscars: ‘The whole lack of racial diversity clanger had the Oscars’ organisers waking in a clammy sweat.’ Or this, by a writer defending the right of Cheryl Fernandez-Versini (formerly Cheryl Cole) to take a lover ten years younger than herself: ‘Cue horror and disgust on the forums from judgmental idiots who’ve probably never even had a relationship, let alone one with an age gap.’

I’ve no wish for the New Day to fail, but if it succeeds, it will be evidence not of the durability of the daily newspaper but of its perhaps irreversible decline. For the New Day is not a newspaper; it is something else altogether. And for some reason it left me feeling very depressed. I went last weekend to a new, musically accomplished youth opera at Glyndebourne called Nothing. The story was about a schoolboy who dismayed his classmates by suddenly announcing that nothing in the world mattered and resisted all their efforts to show him that some things did. In the end, they just put him on a bonfire and burnt him to death. Reading the New Day, I began to feel a bit of a nihilist myself. So I’d better stop reading it. Life’s too short.

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  • Polly Radical

    Excellent for lining the rabbit hutch at the current 25p price.
    50p will be pushing it.

    • disruptivethoughts

      If I were a rabbit, I wouldn’t be very happy about the Mirror or its progeny adorning the floors of my little wooden home.

      • Andrew Cole

        They could always show their disapproval by excreting their wastes upon it.

        • disruptivethoughts

          Rabbits are famous for their dirty protests, and they have a nasty bite too. They didn’t get to be so ubiquitous almost everywhere in the world, without a fight.

          • SunnyD

            you make them sound like muslims, what with their breeding habits an’ all…..

          • disruptivethoughts

            I’m not aware that rabbits follow any major religion, but who knows what they’re trying to tell us with their thumping sounds?

          • SunnyD

            I was thinking of the metaphorical similarities….

          • Alex

            Nothing we’re not used to putting up with from right-wingers then

      • Mary Ann

        Better than the Sun.

        • disruptivethoughts

          I’m not sure one rag is so obviously better than the other. Good for soaking up oil though.

    • svetlana kuznetsov

      Just use bog roll.

  • ladyofshalot

    Totally not any kind of a newspaper – more like a women’s magazine and not a very good one at that. Certainly not going to buy it ever.

    • Colonel Mustard

      A sort of print Mumsnet for vaguely lefties and those opinionated, judgemental but rather stupid women (why am I thinking of Soubry?) who think “something must be done”.

      • disruptivethoughts

        It is noteworthy that the ‘something’ must almost always be done by somebody else, usually unidentified and certainly not including the person calling for it. Something must be done about this vagueness.

        • Jeff Evans

          Publishing a New Newspaper is Something, and behold! Someone has Done It!

      • Mary Ann

        MCP

        • Colonel Mustard

          Call it positive discrimination. It’s about SOME women not ALL women.

          Therefore NOT MCP. You are not yet the Borg even though it sometimes seems like it.

  • Mary Ann

    Shock, horror, probe, it isn’t going to be right wing.

    • Colonel Mustard

      I think it is more about that it is just going to be left wing. And the reaction to that is not shock, horror, probe but yawn, zzzzzzz.

    • SunnyD

      got your subscription already?

      • Mary Ann

        No. If I want to know what is going on in the world I look at the BBC, mind you, it is a bit right wing although not as bad as most news sources. Of course the newspapers are owned by extremely rich men so they are bound to reflect the views that suit the rich.

  • Mongo

    ‘For one thing, it promises to be politically neutral and to let its readers form their own opinions’

    from the description given here it sounds anything but politically neutral – rather another Leftist claptrap Guardian spin-off

    i’ll give it a couple of years before it folds

    • Duckworth Keats

      That long?

    • Allyup

      It would have more chance if right wing as the right wing press is larger

      • Quest for Liberty

        I would think contrariwise, that if the right wing press is larger, that there’s more of a market in the left-wing press.

        • whs1954

          Were that true, the Independent wouldn’t be folding while the Mail soars away. Right wingers want news and facts, left wingers nowadays want the Twitter echo chamber.

          • John Davis

            Right wingers and facts? Are you sure? They want their own opinions supported, not truth and evidence silly chap.

          • Uncle Bob

            You fk too many goats and camels you mixed your genes with them.

        • Mary Ann

          How many people do you know who vote Tory and then complain when the Tories start implementing Tory policies.

          • polidorisghost

            You?

        • mdj

          Logically one would think so, but the Guardian loses almost a million a week – in my opinion, due to plugging opinions above information.

    • Alex

      Ah yes, we can’t be having these dangerous lefty ideas like allowing people to form their own opinions on things.

    • Mary Ann

      It’s isn’t right wing so it must be leftie………..

  • Andrew Cole

    I don’t get it. How can a newspaper appeal to people that have given up reading newspapers?

    • hugo761

      Because it doesn’t have any news.

      • Andrew Cole

        But surely people who used to buy newspapers want news?

        • svetlana kuznetsov

          FFS newspaper “news” is old before it hits the press. Only people with tactile compulsive disorder read newspapers with actual pages.

          • Andrew Cole

            I would lay money that the vast majority of newspaper sales are by those oldboys that take their newspaper to work and read it on their teabreaks and lunchbreaks.

            It is funny these days when you see a workforce at breaktime. The older guys with their head buried in a paper and the young guys manically prodding their phones with their prodding finger or catching 40 winks.

          • davidshort10

            I can remember when working on building sites and industrial places that every bloke read a paper, usually their mate’s because he’d read his own on the bus, so they swapped. All those buses that you used to see in the early morning full of workmen reading their paper and smoking don’t exist any more with the decline in manufacturing and industrial work. Even building sites don’t have many guys any more. A few years ago I saw from the DLR platform the building of a new block of flats. I counted only 12 guys on the site. Also, people used to buy the paper because it was the only place you could find out what was on telly that night if you didn’t buy the Radio Times and the TV Times. Many factors for the decline in papers, not just the internet. Oh, another factor now is that they are mostly full of crap, in particular the broadsheets. Full of Polly Filler columns. If you want good international news you have to log on and read US papers or buy the International New York Times at the weekend. This new paper will not succeed if it is aimed at young people. They just do not buy papers and will not pick up the habit.

          • Andrew Cole

            Newspapers used to give you the news. Then in the eighties and nineties it became celebrity this and celebrity that and was starting to have an agenda. The last decade has seen all newspapers have such a one sided opinion of anything ]from the front page to the back page where you used to get conflicting articles within the same paper back when I was a kid.

          • mdj

            A friend buys the Mail; she finds that its various offers and discounts make it free to read over the course of a year. There’s scope in that direction.

        • Mary Ann

          By the time people actually get to buy their newspapers we have already heard the news 3 times on our television.

          • Andrew Cole

            Totally agree. The only people that buy newspapers these days is for something to do on their breaks and as that generation dies out newspapers will be a thing of the past. The younger generation use their smartphones for everything.

  • Ken

    People have given up on newspapers because they no longer do real investigative journalism – they mostly do nothing more than parrot the line of whichever political leader they suck up to. That’s simply not worth paying for.

    • Alex

      That’s why the right-wing press does so comparatively well: that’s precisely the difference in disposition between left and right.

  • Nobby

    Presumably this is trying to fill the gap that the Independent is leaving and much like the Indy it claims not to be politically partial but s clearly just another metro-Lefty mouthpiece.

    Why do Left-wing news sources lack the intellectual honesty to admit their bias? The BBC is the most obvious example of this. It is all rather sinister.

    • Alex

      Because the political debate is so far to the right in this country that a balanced or impartial newspaper seems left-wing.

      It is in the same territory as the Metro it seems.

      • balance_and_reason

        No…I’m sorry but you are wrong.

        • Mary Ann

          So which paper do you think is middle of the road?

          • balance_and_reason

            It is not that simple…many traditionally middle of the road papers such as the Standard have veered left with ridiculous teenage angst fest columnists….My solution is to read the Guardian, The Telegraph, blur through the Indy and Mail web sites, the Speccy, the New Scientist..quite left now, and watch the news on ITN…and denounce the pathetic BBC.

    • Mary Ann

      Considering most of the press is right wing I think that most people have forgotten what the middle is.

      • mdj

        …or, in the case of the press, both telling lies from their point of view….

  • Holly

    If you made a choice to read it, then any feelings you have after reading it is your own fault…

  • Johnnymcevoy

    Thanks for the warning.
    .
    One to avoid.

  • stevenk

    Bizarre. One doesn’t need any sort of clairvoyance to see that this is doomed. As doomed as last breath of King Doomed of the Doomed People. Nobody reads newspapers anymore, and those who do are dying faster than the extras in a humans vs aliens disaster movie.

    New Day? Cloud Cuckoo Land more like.

    • Aaron D Highside

      Gordon McDoom must have sent them a good luck wish.

  • sir_graphus

    No sports section to speak of; that’s 50% of potential readers won’t buy it. Looks as if it’s been designed to be read exclusively by women.

    • Alex

      Well that’s OK, at present women tend to read the Daily Mail because it has a prolific celebrity gossip section. They are simply targeting a demographic.

  • Old men plant trees

    The first rule of Marketing is to steer clear of gaps in the market; they often turn out to be holes. A newspaper for people who don’t read newspapers. A hole in one.

    • mdj

      ‘A gap in the market does not mean there is a market in the gap’; can’t recall who said this.

      Is it made up of of all that free ‘copy’ that infests my Yahoo email page? I suppose that getting people to pay for stuff you can pick up free is a model of sorts.

  • e2toe4

    It looks like something driven by the *One Trinity Mirror* content pooling operation (that takes in all the content from various TM local papers and their nationals and makes it available to all in the group) and perhaps also having spare print capacity on the ever dwindling number of presses…so a *why not give it a punt?* idea because someone noticed some spare capacity in the company–rather than a newspaper arising from any conviction that what the world really needs is another paper and the one it wants is this one.

  • Bosun Higgs

    Journalist Catty About Other Journalists Shock
    Also on page 17 – My Liposuction Horror – the machine that wouldn’t switch off!!!

  • Chris Hobson

    Its a viewspaper.

  • Mrs Cravatt

    The Gruffalo was written by an English woman and it would of been published if the UK was out of the EU. What publishers look for initially is the right story then they look for an illustrator to match the text. Sometimes the text with some illustrations are sent to the publisher as a package, as is the case with The Gruffalo, in order to sell the story to the publisher. Quite often, at this point, the publisher decides to change the illustrator. So Axel Scheffler is wrong, the book would of been published but he wouldn’t of drawn the illustrations it would of been done by one of the numerous high quality British illustrators.

    • hobspawn

      ‘Would of’ four times in one comment! Painful.

      • GnosticBrian

        What would Lady Nugee have to say about ordinary people writing as they speak? Imagine, if the English language changed and developed over the years – Chaucer would be turning in his grave.

        • hobspawn

          Imagine if every ignorant mistake, no matter how inconsistent with the coherent structure of language, was adopted by a well-meaning but misguided class of vandalising virtue signallers in a patronising race to mimic the vulgarest and most deprived amongst us. Yes, soon there would be no culture at all, as the GnosticBrians of this world resorted to simple grunts and violence as the last remaining means of communication. It’s ‘would have’, not ‘would of’, because ‘of’ is not a verb.

          • Alex

            Exactly. It is an actual error of syntax, not simply variation in how the syntax is encoded into words. “I ain’t never” for example would be fine.

          • GnosticBrian

            Supposition as a asubstitute for fact. That can cut both ways. The same could be equally true of Mrs Cravatt – she may, even now, be chuckling at her success in exposing your pedantry.

          • gildedtumbril

            I am against all tax. That includes syntax.
            English, the queen of languages evolves. I grant myself the right, nay, the inalienable right to evolve it,
            there noo.

          • GnosticBrian

            Do you criticise “Trini’s Dad” for poor use of English; or does your PC triumph over your pedantry?

          • hobspawn

            Trini’s Dad is doing it on purpose. He probably has a masters in Elizabethan literature. Mrs Cravatt, OTOH, seems to be a hostage to the auto-complete function of his point and drool device.

          • Mrs Cravatt

            I don’t understand why you are being so pedantic. OK I admit it my English wasn’t the best. However, when it has taken 10 minutes to type a short paragraph because my device is so sodding dysfunctional occasionally one doesn’t bother to check for errors. Hobspawn you are being quite aggressive which probably means you’re a pathetic loser in real life. BTW would like to meet face to face.

          • hobspawn

            Relax, I did blame your device: “Mrs Cravatt, OTOH, seems to be a hostage to the auto-complete function of his point-n-drool device.” It wasn’t meant to be a personal attack. I am an impolitely critical pedant, unimaginitive and educated beyond meagre intelligence, I know, but I really do find it painful to read four ‘would of’s in a row. Mea culpa. No hard feelings.

          • Mary Ann

            I don’t bother to read anything written by Trini’s Dad, if he had anything important to say he would at least try to make it legible

          • hobspawn

            Trini’s Dad is doing it on purpose. He probably has a masters in Elizabethan literature. Mrs Cravatt, OTOH, seems to be a hostage to the auto-complete function of his point and drool device.

          • 9sqn

            It’s not pedantry. It grated with me an all. An I’m an ex Brummie ! Nobody expects perfect grammar, but a display of total ignorance of very basic English should at least be highlighted.

          • GnosticBrian

            If you are with Whom Tyler and the Pedant’s revolt, you would know that should be “ex-Brummie” and that there is no such thing. If you are a Brummie (Birmingham born and bred) you can’t divest yourself of that status.

          • 9sqn

            ‘me an all’. ‘Ex’ Brummie, Irony dear fellow. Loosen up.

          • GnosticBrian

            The pedant, who is happy to condemn other’s mistakes, doesn’t like it when his mistakes are highlighted. Man up!

          • 9sqn

            Except that my mistakes were deliberate – with just a hint of self-deprecation thrown in. To most I would have thought that was quite clear. But then I didn’t allow for you.

          • GnosticBrian

            So you say now. Disembling is unbecoming of you.

          • 9sqn

            Oh gawd, you again. ‘An’ I’m an ex .. blah blah etc .. Read the post, idiot. Then tell me who is the pedant. On second thoughts, don’t bovver.
            (Did you see what I did there. Nah, didn’t think you would of).

          • GnosticBrian

            You are a self-confessed pedant but can’t handle it when your own mistakes are highlighted – try to control your tantrums and propensity to launch ad hominem attacks.

          • 9sqn

            .. ‘ad hominem’ ? Dear me. Your lack of self-awareness was at first quite amusing. Now you’re just irritating. Was just wondering how many mistakes you picked up in my last reply. Clue; there were two. 🙂
            Goodnight. Sleep well. Don’t expect another reply.

          • GnosticBrian

            If my pointing out your mistakes irritates you, let it go.

          • UKSteve

            Says the one who claims to be a “former paratrooper”.

            It seems that you never have comments, merely stupidities and abuse. Did your parachute fail you once, and you landed on your head? (And I think you mean ‘bother’.)

          • 9sqn

            Yes ‘bother’ is what I meant. Seems you and your pal Gnocchi Brain just don’t quite get it do you. Look up vernacular.

          • UKSteve

            Yeah, I did. While I “look that up”, maybe you can look up “taunt”, “sarcasm” and “gullible”.

            Not the first clue who “Gnocchi Brain” is, well done for reducing yourself to total prattery. Again.

          • Tamerlane

            It is in German and we’re in the EU for eternity until out brains rot and Commissar Cameron is EU Reich Minister of Ethnic Paper Clip Acquisitions and International Commissioner for the Eton Wall Game (private jet included and an audience with St Barrack of O’Bama the President formerly known as Madiba on speed dial) and don’t you forget it mein little Englander. In Cherman we say such mutterings as ‘Can I get?’ instead of ‘Can I have?’, ‘I’m done’ instead of ‘I’m finished’ und ‘would of’, and so our American brothers who are after all just English speaking Germans soon have you small minded Englanders speaking like little knucklehead German serfs…which you are.

          • 9sqn

            Reminds me of the American mangling of .. well, American; ‘You don’t gotta do that’.

        • johnmarsh

          Except that it isn’t how people speak. It’s how a subsection of undereducated people who don’t read books speak. It’s not a case of language evolving to suit convenience, it’s merely a case of some people hearing “of” in place of “have” and repeating this mistake because they don’t read enough to see the actual grammar.

          • GnosticBrian

            That’s the best you can come up with after two months?

            Begone with your Norman requirement for orthography.

      • Mrs Cravatt

        Almost as painful as writing on this frigging tablet.

        • Robbydot1

          I don’t see how using a tablet affects your gramma?

          • Grammar*

          • Ryan Redmond

            I don’t see why only knobheads care about grammar.nice decent normal people realise life’s too short to care about something as stupid petty and unimportant as damn grammar

          • SunnyD

            yet you made sure your grammar and punctuation was spot on!
            (life’s too short indeed!)
            – hey, guess what I wanna grab you and say….?

          • droptout

            I’m a nice, decent normal person, and I care about grammar. Try reading a novel without proper grammar. It would be impossible. You’re very stupid.

          • johnmarsh

            Because such atrocious English is a sure sign that someone is not well read. Why on earth do people like you take pride in ignorance? The last thing I’d want people to think when reading my comments is that these are the opinions of an illiterate.

    • Mary Ann

      and?

    • droptout

      It’s ‘would have’, not ‘would of’, you ignorant cretin.

  • SunnyD

    whenever I hear someone say “life’s too short” or, as in this case “life’s short” I always want to grab them and say “there’s nothing longer than life! stop parroting silly phrases like that”

    • Ryan Redmond

      Nothing longer than life? Try telling that to all my family that have died in their 60’s some even in their 40’s ,and this is just in the last few year.shame there’s nothing bigger than your brain then maybe you wouldn’t come out with such stupid moronic and hurtful comments.in future keep your mouth SHUT

      • SunnyD

        Yes – nothing longer than life. Although I daresay we can find something longer if we think outside the box.
        If you think that the tragedy of your situation makes what I said any the less true, then we will have to agree to disagree.
        And if I wanted to say something moronic and potentially hurtful, I’d’ve said: “If time heals all wounds, why do old people die?”

  • TrulyDisqusted

    In the end, they just put him on a bonfire and burnt him to death…

    Oooh, I does like a happy ending. Did he scream and die fighting or did he go quietly into the flames?

  • Cyril Sneer

    Don’t worry, it won’t be around for long.

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