They Found What They Were Looking For

12:57 PM, May 23, 2006

redindyt.jpg
Last week’s much-discussed edition of the Independent guest-edited by Bono sold more than 70,000 extra copies — a bigger spike than after last summer’s London bombings.

“We did very good PR, the front page attracted people and the subject matter was in keeping with our readers’ interests and concerns,” [Independent Editor Simon] Kelner said.

>Red Independent see sales flurry [The Guardian]


Comments

So, 1) the paper sold significantly more copies, which means revenues, which means (ideally) more money with which to practice journalism; 2) Readers were exposed to more stories about the trajedy of AIDS in Africa; 3) the paper got a lot of publicity (we're reading about it here).

And the alarmists are worried about, what?
Is the problem that the stories were driven by someone with no journalism background ( though with a very real interest in the subject)? Is it that the front page was defaced by this full page graphic (personally, I'd worry more about great apes)? Is it that things like this are just not done in our business?

Maybe they should be done, more often. To me, this is a win, win. The paper lends its name and goodwill with its readership to highlight a significant social and political issue. The readers get exposed to this issue - to a greater degree than is likely on a typical news day.

The management of the paper clearly thought about whether the charity/issue/celebrity was a fit with their readership, which should allay the concerns of anyone who might worry that the paper effectively sold out its relationship with its readers for what they may see as a pr gimmick.

I applaud the Independent for taking this risk. I think it paid off.

Posted by: Malcolm at May 24, 2006 06:49 AM

Well said Malcolm. I think that the oposition to this concept comes largely from some reactionary, abstract notion (yes, abstract.)of journalistic integrity. Of course I believe in journalistic integrity as an industry imperitive, but it, like everything else in life, is not static.

Posted by: Stuart at May 24, 2006 07:33 AM
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