UK publisher doesn’t get the message: launches new print newspaper for ‘the north’
CN Group publishes first edition of ’24’ – a weekday tabloid launched without a working news website just as ‘New Day’ was launched, Trinity Mirror’s tabloid start-up, shuttered only two months after launch
Apparently news of the death of print comes slowly to the north of England as a local publisher has just launched a new ‘national’ newspaper for the north called 24. The publisher, CN Group, publishes such papers as the News & Star and The Cumberland News and the Hexham Courant.
New newspaper launches are great, in theory, but already there are some odd things about this one. For one thing, how can something be a new national newspaper if it is for the North? Second, haven’t these guys heard of New Day, the daily launched by Trinity Mirror, that lasted all of two months before being shuttered?
Like New Day, 24 has launched without a functioning website, just one that lets readers sign up to receive a replica digital edition of the print newspaper.
“Millions of newspapers are sold in the UK every week and people still want their daily fix of a newspaper,” David Helliwell, editorial director of CN Group told the Financial Times.
“We have a northern slant on national stories. So we will take a northern court case rather than one in Cambridge. We will write about the north-south divide from the perspective of the north, not the south-east.”
British tabloids, for those Americans unfamiliar with the form, are a cross between a supermarket tabloid (think the National Enquirer) and a metro daily. Only in NYC does the form continue with any enthusiasm, though without any profits. This is essentially how the 40-page 24 is designed.
The newspaper costs 40p (about half a buck), comes out Monday through Friday, and gives its readers most of its content from the Press Association, the national news agency for the UK. The start-up tabloid will be distributed in Cumbria, Northumberland and parts of southern Scotland and Lancashire.
“We’re seeing a declining audience, a disenfranchised audience. We know the national press are becoming more opinionated and more positionalised – politically and opinions-wise – and we believe from the research we’ve had that there is an awful lot of people who just want the news and they don’t want opinion rammed down their throats,” CN Group chief executive Miller Hogg told the Press Gazette, the UK’s journalism trade journal.
“They want a 20-30 minute read and to be kept up to speed with all the national news at a reasonable price. Our position is not to take on the national press but actually to take on the disenfranchised audience who have stopped buying a national paper and try to get them back.”
The new paper has put out a YouTube video showing production of the paper a couple of hours before deadline. Gizmodo UK called it ‘terribly dreary’ which is probably accurate, but as a newspaper veteran myself I think it is still a little unfair. Or maybe not, you can be the judge.