For the last four weeks I have been trialling the subscription service offered by the Independent. I have often felt that newspapers still hold value and was turned off the Times by both its online Pay-Per-day system for news articles and its blatant pro-tory message during the election. I therefore went with the newspaper that I read during college.
It was such a good deal as well, at least at trial stage. four pounds for a four week subscription. It then goes up to £5 a week for which you get the weekday papers plus the Saturday edition.
The papers themselves have proved great, I now am a lot more interested in the news and in politics than I was when I wasn’t keeping up with it all regularly and found I found more interesting stories that I would never have come across normally. It also gave me sudokus to do on tea breaks and news to read at bed time. Generally the paper was well written as well, certainly it could have been spell checked better at times but most articles even on subjects I had no prior interest or knowledge in were enjoyable to read. It also helps that the independent writers largely share my views on important subjects but it also helped shape my opinions on several subjects.
So am I going to keep up my subscription?
The answer has to be no, firstly it is not good value. While I am happy to pick up the paper on weekdays and take it to work with me, I found it a stretch to pick up the Saturday edition. The paper was not interesting enough and was filled with extras which were largely dull… the 50 best kitchen appliances springs to mind. Therefore if you exclude the Saturday edition then you are looking at paying £5 a week for papers whos value is… £5 a week.
Where is the incentive to therefore subscribe? It limits me in that I would be forced to pick up the paper every day where without the subscription I can happily walk into Londis on three days of the week and pick it up and make a saving. It also means if I want an extended break or a holiday then I am still paying for that privilege. Sure they give you a two week holiday but I still feel constrained.
In addition to the prior mentioned errors (which are a very minor issue) I also found their Monday edition a little on the light side, the sports coverage is no match for the Times’ on Mondays and this was disappointing.
So my overall thoughts? There is still life in the newspaper, at least for me. It is the same argument as the one I have against ebooks, I just like having paper in my hands. Sometimes I don’t want to be staring at a screen. It will be a sad day when this likely outdated medium comes to rest.
The Independent is currently a very well put together and well written newspaper to which I would happily subscribe for a weekday only subscription at about £3.50 a week. This would bring papers down to the level I have mentioned before on this blog that I would buy them more often. Until that day I will happily pick up the independent several times a week but will not be constrained by the limiting factor of a subscription. For me newspapers (at least the non-tabloid ones anyway) still have a place and I hope they stick around for some time yet.