After 82 successive columns with not a day missed – not even in the snows of December – I’m going to take a break.
In that time, I’ve written 25,000 words (that’s five times more than the Magna Carta, although I concede they’ve not had not had quite the same lasting impact on British life), I’ve made three jokes (and, according to my colleagues, one of them was funny) and have had at least five gratuitous mentions of Manchester City.
It has also been a hugely rewarding experience. One of the best things about the modern age of commnunications is that feedback is instant, and, as journalists, we crave immediate reaction. Sometimes, I’ve hardly got my feet under the desk in the morning, and already there are emails, texts, tweets and facebook postings responding to something I’ve written, or to make comments about the paper.
From its inception, we intended i to be the world’s most interactive newspaper, and I hope you think we’ve been as good as our word. You wanted radio listings: we gave them to you. You asked for a cryptic crossword: we obliged. You didn’t want celebrity tittle-tattle: we’ve tried, with varying degrees of success, to steer clear. Some of you couldn’t do without racecards: not without a fight, we gave in to you, too. And from Scotland and Ireland came the persistent cry that we were ignoring you: this week, we’ve been able to put that right.
The paper has developed and grown in those 82 issues, and you’ve played a huge part in that. I have been struck by the passion you feel for i: it’s your paper, and you have a proprietorial, if not evangelical, interest in it. I can’t tell you how rewarding that is from this side. I’m going to leave you in the tender embrace of our executive editor, Stefano Hatfield. He’s got his own views on things, but I’m sure you’ll put him right should he get above himself! See you in a fortnight.
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