Letter from the i Editor: It's more important than ever to trust your readers

 

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The Independent Online

Tomorrow night I’ll tune in to BBC Radio 5 Live to listen to its novel chart show, a top 40  of the week’s news.

 The Hit List is certainly innovative: every Sunday it will discuss the news that’s had the greatest impact across social media and online in the past seven days.

Presented by Emma Barnett, it  starts at 7.30pm and will last two-and- a-half hours. The rankings are compiled  by sociologists and computer scientists from British universities. Fears that cat videos would dominate are unfounded. Based on the pilots, foreign stories feature prominently - although sometimes with a twist. For example, on Ebola, the public’s imagination was captured by one woman’s campaign, “I am a Liberian not a virus”. Westminster politics and business don’t overshadow everything else.

In a world of hyper-information and misinformation, journalists have a vital role. But the old world of news gatekeepers – a tiny band of editors deciding that they know best – has gone. Social media saw to that. i was founded on a dialogue with you. And while you expect us to exercise our judgement in choosing stories, if launching i has proved anything it’s to trust your readers. (Hence our i100 site where readers “upvote” stories.)

The success of Barnett’s new chart show will ride on the depth of  discussion. I expect it to be eclectic and unpredictable – with the  potential for compelling radio.

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I mentioned yesterday that i has been named Publication of the Year by Stonewall. Tomorrow, the Rainbow List, the 101 most influential LGBT people in Britain, will be released in our sister title The Independent on Sunday. The list is in its 15th year. First  time around, they struggled to find 50  people. For 2014, my Sindy colleagues Lisa Markwell and Katy Guest received  over 4,000 nominations. I’m told we’ll see a mix of national treasures and feisty campaigners – although sport remains an under-represented area.

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