When we launched i there was much debate over quite how much politics a new paper should feature.
Much of the research I’ve seen on both sides of the Atlantic over the past decade into why readers, and young people in particular, were turning away from newspapers found that a major reason (along with “too boring”, “too big” and the internet) was that the public was heartily sick of the prism of political bias through which stories are viewed. Not just political stories, but consumer, economic and social affairs, even cultural stories – such as the relentlessly brutal attack from some quarters on the BBC.
We decided i would best serve the real gap in the market by sticking to a philosophy of no overt political bias, mindful that we are produced, every day, out of the content resource of an unashamedly liberal newspaper. i would also feature individual views from both the left and the right.
We have discussed here before how it is neither possible nor desirable to be 100% bias free, because politics is inherent in every story choice. But I think regular readers would know i’s apolitical philosophy lies in an intent to be discursive, not didactic.
We are lucky enough to draw on The Independent’s very fine political team under Andrew Grice, which will guarantee us exclusives (shared with our mothership). That said, you won’t see too much knockabout “he said, she said” nonsense of the kind that poor Mr Sally Bercow has to deal with each day, and which harms the reputation of our Parliament and its politicians. Major statements, like the PM’s as MPs “returned to school” rise above this, of course.
We have the conference season upon us. It’s the first in i’s short life. What’s your appetite for news and views from the jamborees? Is this serious news, or PR for the parties? Let us know. We are listening.