Print is alive and kicking, but you’d never guess it from this new newspaper

If, like me, you are majorly underwhelmed by new newspaper I – The Independent’s tabloid spin-off – you can at least look forward to the new-look kids’ comic Dandy, due out today. That, we are told, will lift the nation’s gloom with one roll of the printing press.

We shall see if that bold claim by publisher DC Thomson is borne out. But the redesign of the comic classic cannot be as disappointing – even to the staunchest Dandy fan – as The Independent’s effort to woo readers back to papers at a time when online sources offer news as it breaks and allow us to respond immediately.

I’s design, created by Spanish consultancy Cases & Associates, is heavy-handed and the choice of stories hardly complementary to the parent title’s more measured editorial tone.

The saddest thing about I, though, is that it is an opportunity missed. Instead of providing the overview for busy people it purports to offer, it compounds the argument against print as a way of delivering daily news and in-depth comment. At a time when content is deemed king, it offers little of merit.

The constant references to e-mail, Twitter and other social media within I’s pages can only seal its fate, spelling out the prominence of social media in an information-hungry world. These media provide, at the swipe of a screen, what I fails to deliver: instant news, reactions and debate on topics of the visitor’s choosing.

Print is by no means dead, as other titles successfully demonstrate. The secret to date has been balancing it with online sources, in terms of content and design – a feat The Guardian has arguably best achieved, with the Financial Times leading the way on the iPad front with its app – and the challenge to publishers making money.

It will be interesting to see how the broadsheets respond to I. But the biggest challenge will surely come from the red tops with which it sits on newsstands.

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