Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Five Reasons I hate the i 'essential daily briefing.'

Welcome to the latest VILE BILE click-bait festival. Today's unjustified target is the i newspaper, that tabloid version of The Independent which I keep buying before I get the bus. What with it being a slightly more intelligent version of the Metro, and short enough to read on the way to the office before I get my proper news off Buzzfeed and, I thought I would love it. I love bits of it - like the match reports of Somerset cricket - but, luckily, there are enough irritations to give us all a spot of five way mockery action.

1. It is really smug
I have never known a newspaper - apart from The Sun, which I have never read, of course - that congratulates itself so often. I seem to remember every editorial was about how brilliant the concept of a 'tabloid broadsheet' was for the first year, followed by similar commentary whenever it reaches an anniversary. I hear they intend to replace the human editor for a picture of one of those frogs that puffs itself up in the next round of cuts.

The readership aren't helping here: when they put the price up, the letters' page was full of readers congratulating them. Apparently, they didn't know how the paper had been produced so cheaply, and if there were further price increase - great!

Note: I like the coffee at the CCA, but I didn't shake the manager's hand when he put up the price by 10p. Also, they do it so cheaply because they are re-using content from the big version of the same paper, or cutting bits out of other magazine (The Opinion Matrix page).

2. It reads like social media
Seriously, if I wanted to read a football pundit's twitter feed, I'd follow them. I wouldn't buy a newspaper. The i is full of pithy quotes from public figures - devoid of context, just a cheeky catch-phrase.While I don't need journalists to do my thinking for me, I wouldn't mind knowing what provoked David Cameron to say that he'd like to see the reintroduction of the gladiatorial games for Yes voters.

Add in the News and Sport Matrices: edited versions of the edited articles that appear elsewhere in the paper. I get a similar understanding of the Middle East from Facebook status updates - the same thing repeated again and again.

3. Their arts coverage
live performance not as good as DVD - that's criticism
Although they still have a bit of reviewing - I believe all the critics got kicked off the paper - the arts section obviously found the five star rating too complicated and now award shows a tick or a cross.

While some artists might appreciate being treated like primary school children, a quick summary of a play's plot and a tick doesn't do anything to move art forward through criticism.

4. Celebrity
When The Independent started off, it had a proper no bullshit rule. They refused to cover minor monarchy motions, and were very serious about everything. Now, they report on Robin Thicke's Q and A session which ended up in him getting abusive questions. Admittedly, that was funny - although a great deal funnier when the on-line click-baiters got hold of it.

In today's issue, there is an article about why Professor Green wants off twitter - mainly because he doesn't want his grandkids to know about his shittting habits. It is written - rather well - by the Professor himself.

But how does a newspaper that can't afford to pay critics afford to pay the Professor to write about how he isn't going to write rubbish on twitter? And there is lots and lots of news in the world: with no disrespect to Prof G, wouldn't that be a more suitable topic for Heat?

5. Simon Kelner
In the best traditions of 'name' columnists, Simon Kelner lives in his own magic world. Whatever big news is happening, Kelner can slap in a few hundred words, usually concluding with a homily. Today he said something very sensible - that Luis Suarez might have bitten someone, but FIFA is biting the entire world - before trying to link the success of minor nations to economic confidence. He mentions Ghana - one of the teams in the secret corruption investigation - as advertising itself as a place to do business.

Since Ghana did as well as England... oh, Kelner. I can't even begin to think like you.

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