The final edition of The New Day was published on Friday 6th May. It lasted an astonishingly-brief 50 issues or 9 weeks. That’s shorter than VGR2016 has held out, languors or no! Since I’d covered the launch previously and picked up the odd issue, I bought a copy of the last paper to see how it ended.
The fact that the paper was closing was announced the day before meaning that there was opportunity for the final issue to reflect upon itself, as well as publish readers’ regrets and well-wishes. Solutions to the puzzles on today’s Brain Escape page were thoughtfully included elsewhere, rather than leaving readers stumped in perpetuity.
As to the paper’s content/reportage, the front page had a typically family-oriented investigative story about an apparent increase in teachers cheating on the SATs, but also carried a picture of Janet Jackson (“…to be a first-time mum at 50“) and several “more inside”-style headlines.
The paper’s content is noticeably more dense than at launch and the artificial pro/con issue pieces which I bemoaned in early issues are absent. There’s a nice “Dead Musician”-style picture spread of all 50 covers. A solid Big Question opinion piece on whether the BBC needs saving from itself or government. More adverts are present (not enough, by all accounts), the most prominent being an astute, opportunistic full-page ad by the Daily Mirror with reduced-price vouchers covering until Wednesday. A regular Mirror reader could have saved themselves a couple of quid just picking up the final New Day.
Everyone has an unwanted opinion to share, and in mine the paper-as-newspaper rather than paper-as-business might have worked at an i-matching 40p price where its prioritisation of different issues made it a strong alternative. Another thing which might have worked in the paper’s favour is shelving it more imaginatively. Distribution materials suggested that it be placed alongside the mid-market Daily Mail and Daily Express. As launched, it might better have found a market placed with/alongside magazines section. I’ve read coverage suggesting publishers wanted to target people (especially women) on-the-go and the Take A Break end of the magazine shelf wouldn’t have be a complete mis-fit.
Mentioning the target quick-skim-and-dispose audience also makes one wonder why The New Day was printed on such nice paper. The full colour articles and double-page spreads look good-to-amazing (no jpeg artefacts this issue!) but to what end? It’s still tomorrow’s fish’n’chip paper like the rest (or in this case next Tuesdays’).
All in all, on the strength of the final issue I wish the paper had been given more time sales-or-no, and it is a loss to the moribund physical news market.
Life is short, pained by laws like billy club!