letter from the editor

Share
Last week in this space I asked for thoughts about the changing news agenda - the extent to which ''new'' news about science, culture, health, the environment and so on, deserved to elbow its way to the level of ''old'' news, of the politics-plus-diplomacy sort. The letters back were generally subtle and thoughtful.

Janey Huber, a former eye surgeon from Cambridge, wrote in favour of the new agenda: ''There was a time when I read newspapers and saw only photographs of middle-aged white men, read only articles written by middle- aged white men, about the power struggles of middle-aged men, white and otherwise.'' There is a gender question here, she argues: ''Traditional news is masculine and about men in power. The kind of news I want to read is about things that affect me: the survival of the planet, women's success or failure in Equal Opportunities cases, the things I should feed my children, what's going on in Europe, what will hit us next from the US.''

Another reader, Clare Prout from London, agreed - ''I'd like to support your idea that environmental and wider social issues are just as much news as the sleeping mumblings in the House of Lords. In many ways, these less 'hard' items are proto-news.''

Dr Tony Daniels from Cleveland, while applauding the ''clean new layout'' of the paper, suggested that we are becoming less a newspaper than ''a daily news magazine'' and adds: ''You are heavily biased to the arts, fashion and the south-east of England in your 'news' coverage. Science and technology rarely get a look-in.''

Well, we are upping the science coverage - today's page three being an example - but the ''magazine'' criticism came from other readers too. Colin Parker from Tewksbury, for example, said he regarded the news items as being ''too 'magaziney', if I can invent such a word ... I get the impression that some stories are saved for a day when a page can be filled with stories that loosely come under the same heading.'' Quite a few of you agree with Mr Parker and Dr Daniels.

Another London reader, Nicholas Maxwell, put the opposing view: ''By presenting the information the way you have chosen, you break down an unhelpful, and possibly unreal, division between hard and soft stories. The grouping of pieces ''gives me what I need to make the links between different but related stories and makes me think more about the pieces rather than just reading them and passing on.''

That, of course, is exactly the intention of the new paper, even if we don't always succeed. The editorial and commercial dilemma is how to balance the traditional agenda with a grouping and choice of stories that tease out the new agenda while not losing too many readers on the way. If there is a pattern, it is that the offended readers tend to be older and the enthusiasts younger. E-mails, interestingly, are running more heavily ''pro'' than handwritten letters.

When The Guardian relaunched in 1988, it managed to lose 100,000 sales in a year. Amiable though our shareholders are, I rather suspect that I would not be permitted to do quite that badly - and so far (phew), sales are well above, not below, our base figures before the new paper. But it is of course easier to lose readers than to win new ones, particularly since we don't have sugar-daddy money. So if you are enjoying the paper, tell a friend!

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Java Developer - 1 year contract

£350 - £400 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based in Cent...

Junior Analyst - Graduate - 6 Month fixed term contract

£17000 - £20000 Per Annum Bonus, Life Insurance + Other Benefits: Clearwater P...

SAS Business Analyst - Credit Risk - Retail Banking

£450 - £500 per day: Orgtel: SAS Business Analyst, London, Banking, Credit Ris...

Project Manager - Pensions

£32000 - £38000 Per Annum Bonus, Life Insurance + Other Benefits: Clearwater P...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Tory whips were anxiously ringing round the “usual suspects” following Douglas Carswell's defection to Ukip  

Douglas Carswell’s defection reminds us that it's the Tories who have the most to fear from Ukip

Andrew Grice
Daniel Barenboim conducts Prom 46  

Despite Gaza’s war, the show must go on

David Lister
Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

The phoney war is over

Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

Salomé: A head for seduction

Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

British Library celebrates all things Gothic

Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

In search of Caribbean soul food

Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
11 best face powders

11 best face powders

Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone