Trinity Mirror is going against the grain and launching a new print newspaper — one that doesn’t have a website to go with it.
Just days after rival national newspaper the Independent closed two of its print editions, Trinity Mirror has launched “The New Day,” a 40-page daily targeted predominantly at women between 35 and 55 years old.
Instead of a website, the paper, which will sell for 50p (56 cents), will have a social media presence. It won’t be publishing articles directly to social platforms with tools like Facebook’s Instant Articles, according to chief revenue officer James Wildman, though he didn’t rule that out as a possible future.
Instead, the Facebook and Twitter channels will be used to cultivate communities, in which readers will be encouraged to post feedback and views on the themes and stories printed in the paper and, in doing so, help shape future content ideas for the print editions.
“It’s about creating a community of opinion-formers,” said Wildman. “We’ll cover news that is trending and in content verticals like lifestyle and sport, but it will be an aspirational, quality newspaper intended for the digital age. It will look more like your Facebook newsfeed in terms of its layout and approach — it will be news in-brief, what you’d need to know today, for people with limited time to read. And it will be very visual and beautiful.”
Twenty-four journalists have been recruited to create the paper’s content, which will focus on trending and daily news. Each reporter — called “page creators” — will be responsible for responding to reader feedback and cultivating social communities. Most (75 percent) of the editorial team are female — a conscious decision for a title aimed at a female audience, a demographic that is underrepresented in U.K. newspaper media, according to Wildman, where most content is “written by men, for men.”
The benefits of not having a website, aside from the obvious cost savings, are that the publication can run a lean team compared to the traditional “army” of editors, sub editors, headline writers, and reporters associated with print titles, according to Wildman. (The newspaper group has a combined 1,900 journalists across all its titles.)
Trinity Mirror has a reputation for innovating with digital-only products such as UsVsThem and data journalism site Ampp3d, both of which were specifically geared toward social, sharable, mobile-specific content — and which later were shut down. “They couldn’t make those work because the costs were so high. So for any other paper, I would be questioning this move, but for Trinity Mirror, it makes perfect sense because they already have those learnings from having tried those previous digital products,” said DigitasLBi strategy director David Carr.
Carr also said not having a website means the publisher will naturally avoid the “brand schizophrenia” other publications have fallen victim to. “Most telling is the Daily Mail where print is the voice of angry middle England who are willing to pay to see their ideas and beliefs reflected back at them,” he said. “The MailOnline’s brand — as a result of chasing clicks — has evolved to become the cut and shut of a racist pedophile with an axe to grind and a 16-year-old gossip queen with a social media bullying addiction,” he added.
Trinity Mirror itself has a remarkably large audience of readers who access its sites exclusively on mobile — 17.6 million a month, according to comScore (25.3 million total digital population on desktop and mobile). But for the time being, Wildman was keen to stress the launch is about giving print some much-needed love. “Printism is at large in the industry,” he said. “We believe print audiences are underserved, despite there being a really strong and influential role for it still.”