The hatches, matches and despatches pages (or births, marriages and deaths if you want to be proper) have been a standard feature of most newspapers for as long as anyone can remember. It’s therefore a bit ironic that newspapers themselves are now making the headlines for their own hatches, matches and despatches.
First came the despatch with the news that The Independent is to cease producing a print edition next month and will become an online only publication. The match comes in the shape of the Independent’s decision to sell The i to the Johnston Press group for £24m. The hatch is the plan by Trinity Mirror to begin publication next week of a new national daily paper titled New Day.
The decision to stop printing The Independent can hardly come as much of a surprise given that it sells less than 60,000 copies each day. The Independent has suffered more than most from the general decline in newspaper sales. Between 2010 and 2014 the print circulation of paid for national dailies in the UK fell by 22 per cent.
What will happen to The i under the Johnston Press umbrella? Johnston have an extensive record in running local and regional titles, but The i will be their first entry into the UK national market. Johnston have recently announced editorial job losses at papers such as The Scotsman and the Yorkshire Post, so it will be interesting to see if they make any significant investment in the i.
New Day will be the UK’s first standalone national newspaper launch in 30 years. The first edition will be available free on Monday (29 Feb) and will be available at a discounted price of 25p for the first two weeks before settling down to a cover price of 50p. Trinity Mirror have said that it will be a mid market title aimed at 35 to 55 year olds, which I would imagine puts it in direct competition with the Daily Mail and the Daily Express.
Will New Day survive into adulthood or will rival publishers seek to drown it at birth? Watch this space…