i Editor's Letter: Always a broad church of views


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The Independent Online

It is not normally done for any editor to complain about their audience.

As you will know, I have spent a few of these columns bigging up our new readers, be it for your loyalty to, and enthusiasm for, the paper, or your lively views. Genuinely, i welcomes criticism. Some of it has even led to improvements: changing our TV and weather, bringing in puzzles and games, giving youth a voice etc.

But, one occasional moan is really frustrating. It's come up again of late, as we have so many new readers. A few of you have threatened never to buy the paper again on the basis of one item that has offended you, often a column from... well, take your pick: Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, Dominic Lawson, Mary Ann Sieghart, Amol Rajan, Matthew Norman. Recently, it was the closest thing we have to an i national treasure, Deborah Ross.

Deborah has inspired a mailbag and a half at i@independent.co.uk with her recent tongue-in-cheek efforts lampooning both the Old and the New Testaments in the same way she has satirised any and every other subject. Some responded to her poking fun at the Old Testament by accusing her – angrily – of ignoring the New. Now, Deborah is unlikely to take any dare lying down – hence her column this week. A few Revs at least (see p14) have been able to respond with good humour. Others of you? Not so much.

So, to restate this principle: i will always be a broad church of views. We ran Mary's piece in praise of the C of E the other day. I did not hear atheists and agnostics threatening never to buy i again. Nor would I expect to. If it helps, we run Deborah on Tuesdays and Thursdays, so you can skip page 16. Although you don't want to miss Simon Kelner, so maybe it would be better to fold the paper in half and...

You get the picture. i shall continue to offer views from all sides. Then, it's up to you how you spend your 20p!