i Editor's Letter: Stories matter

 

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The Independent Online

 

Mrs S Parsons, a polite school librarian from Newport, scolds me about the number of i front pages dominated by glum-looking politicians and rogues.

Having subscribed to i on the basis of our "Britain's first and only concise, quality newspaper" pledge, she is having second thoughts.

Many of those on our front page are "not eye-catching, or unattractive", and "do not help to inspire the children to pick up the paper". She further complains that we did not cover the Queen's visit to Wales.

It is difficult to dispute the first part of Mrs Parsons' complaint. Many "splashes" do feature politicians and rogues, sometimes both in the same persona. They are indeed not often attractive. However, I would argue that, for example, the image of a tense, behatted Rupert Murdoch and Wendi Deng Murdoch with bright blue nail varnish in their car yesterday was eye-catching and intriguing.

It is an issue we wrestle with daily. We set out to cover serious subjects. There are few aesthetic images to be found in the double-dip recession, the Leveson Inquiry, the shameful treatment of our elderly, and the travails of our health and education systems. We do not put, say, the Duchess of Cambridge randomly on the front, because we believe that's not what i readers want – the same goes for Cheryl Cole, Emma Watson, Justin Bieber or Jessica Ennis.

As for the Queen, she goes somewhere most days. Occasionally the story rises above the fact of her being there – such as the re-opening of the Cutty Sark, which we featured.

We hope we can persuade readers, young and old, that stories matter more than the aesthetics of those featured. And, for the record, the best-selling i to date was the day after Budget ... with George Osborne on the front!

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