Letter from the editor: Reassuringly inexpensive

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According to i reader Maria Gammidge, there is an Italian proverb which says: “Good things cost less than bad ones”. The subject of the cost of things, as you can see from today’s front page, is particularly pertinent at the moment.

At a time of economic uncertainty, we are very conscious of the rising price of everyday goods, and respond to the prevailing mood by making the appropriate changes to our behaviour, i.e. resisting the lure of luxuries and trimming spending on anything that’s not essential.

So where does a newspaper fit into this thinking. Is it essential? Well, even I wouldn’t make a case for that, and in fact a daily paper has never been one of the items in the imaginary shopping basket by which inflation is measured. But, in that case, is it a luxury? Surely not: since when did information, entertainment and elucidation become optional extras in our lives? The truth, I suppose, is that it’s somewhere in between, and given that most people in this difficult economic climate apply a cost/benefit analysis to most things they buy, it’s up to the newspaper to assert itself, either by its price or the unique quality of its offering, as indispensable.

Here at i, we aim to offer both, and certainly on the question of value for money, we believe we have a pretty strong proposition. However, it was interesting that during the focus group discussions we have been having recently, the question of price came up quite a lot, and not always positively. There was a strand of thinking that, at only 20p, the paper couldn’t possibly be of the highest quality. It was only on closer examination that this view was dispelled. This gave me an idea for a new advertising slogan, which borrows from the past and chimes with the current mood of austerity: “i. Reassuringly inexpensive.”