i Editor's Letter: The i is a balancing act


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The Independent Online


You always keep us on our toes, which we love, even pulling us up about the content we haven’t featured, in addition to that which we have. The former is a little trickier to address, particularly in comment pages. When we sit planning i, we try to ensure the major topics of the day are covered, preferably by a voice known in the field; that those voices do not overlap on the day (with exceptions, eg Budget day, or the Olympics) and that over a longer period of time we try to balance out such voices: see Dominic Lawson on Europe. We don’t always succeed, but we strive to. No shirkers here, sir.

Some of you pick me up personally for ignoring certain subjects, notably the Middle East, and my personal views of Cameron, Osborne, Miliband and Clegg. To which I say re the Middle East: Robert Fisk, Patrick Cockburn, Kim Sengupta... and re politicians: Andrew Grice, Steve Richards, Oliver Wright, Nigel Lawson...

I have a view that’s become an old-fashioned view: that one should write about what one knows. There is really little I can meaningfully add to Fisk etc on the Middle East debate other than to rehash views based on my months in a kibbutz. With politicians it is slightly different. As editor, the more I write, the more you would take my views to be the paper’s, and, as I repeat often, there is no official i view.

Contemplating all this, I’ve had my annual bright idea: i could introduce a new regular feature “iBalance” or “iReply” where we deliberately seek out voices from a viewpoint to which you tell us we have not given a fair hearing: anti-gay marriage, anti-women bishops or pro-Suarez? What do you think? I’m off for a lie down now.