The Line:
September 1, 2004 12:19 PM   Subscribe

A new newspaper for London. The first edition of The Line comes out today - apparently, despite its size, the UK capitol lacked an independent paper until now (please feel free to correct this if it is wrong). It's still thin, but does provide an interesting alternative look at issues both local and global.
posted by jb (17 comments total)
the UK capitol lacked an independent paper until now (please feel free to correct this if it is wrong).

OK, I will: You meant "the UK capital." Remember it this way: A capitOl is usually a building that's round on top.
posted by soyjoy at 12:30 PM on September 1, 2004

What do you mean, "independent"?
posted by salmacis at 12:41 PM on September 1, 2004

I was using independent as in alternative - small scale, local, not mainstream - Toronto's Now Magazine is a classic example. Are there also mainstream independents (not owned by large media company) in London?

soyjoy - thanks for the correction : P
posted by jb at 12:46 PM on September 1, 2004

it seems ok, but skimpy--i'm glad i heard about this tho.
posted by amberglow at 12:47 PM on September 1, 2004

It's a weekly London newspaper. Seems a lot like Time Out really.
posted by Pretty_Generic at 12:49 PM on September 1, 2004

Anybody who picks Turkmenbashi for their first Dictator Watch is OK with me.
posted by wendell at 1:09 PM on September 1, 2004

They already have an RSS feed though which is something even the big newspapers can't muster.

Time Out's not really a newspaper though is it?

Liverpool and areas is really in need of something like this. I've found it increasingly impossible to read the Echo as it plunges ever more downmarket.
posted by feelinglistless at 2:57 PM on September 1, 2004

The Big Issue - independent, London based / focused and you get to help the homeless at the same time.
posted by daveg at 3:01 PM on September 1, 2004

I can't remember the source, but someone once said "The Evening Standard is what London has instead of a daily newspaper". That pretty much sums it up; at this point I don't care about independence or otherwise; I just want a daily newspaper that isn't just a screed of articles that didn't make the Daily Mail.
posted by influx at 4:39 PM on September 1, 2004

Maybe I'm just being obtuse, but what about the Independent?
posted by Vidiot at 4:44 PM on September 1, 2004

And The Guardian/Observer.
posted by bonaldi at 5:25 PM on September 1, 2004

The Guardian, Independant, and Observer, are all national papers.
posted by inpHilltr8r at 6:21 PM on September 1, 2004

The Ham & High, which covers north-west London, has an independent feel to it (using 'independent' in jb's sense of the word, to mean alternative, small-scale and local). It's owned by a company called Archant, which describes itself as "the leading family-owned independent regional newspaper group in the UK".

The Evening Standard is of course owned by Associated Newspapers, which also owns the very right-wing Daily Mail. But, to be fair, the Standard has been granted a good deal of editorial independence, e.g. it supported Labour in the 1997 and 2001 elections.

If The Line is planning to go head-to-head with the Standard then it has no chance of survival. The Standard is ruthless in wiping out competition; look what happened to Robert Maxwell's London Daily News, which only lasted five months. However, there might be a gap in the market for a free weekly paper, a sort of cross between Metro and Time Out, if they can manage to get it widely distributed.
posted by verstegan at 3:53 AM on September 2, 2004

Ah, sorry. I thought you were speaking of being politically independent.
posted by Vidiot at 4:31 AM on September 2, 2004

Thanks for the link, jb, and thanks for the namecheck verstegan - I was a reporter at the Ham&High until about a year ago and used to despair at the Evening Standard calling itself a London newspaper. It was mostly filled with national stories and inane slebrity drivel, with the local stories wedged in as fillers.

Which is why I laughed out loud at this dig at their rivals.

Sadly, verstegan, you're right, the Standard is good at stomping on things like this. Metro has survived tho...
posted by penguin pie at 6:50 AM on September 2, 2004

(not that Metro is any more local than the Standard of course...)
posted by penguin pie at 6:58 AM on September 2, 2004

From an email from one of the editors (in response to the thread)
Hi. I'm involved in The Line, currently as Arts Editor.

Just to let you know what we mean by things like "independent" and "alternative". Currently the two main London papers - the Evening Standard and Metro (the daily commuter freesheet) - are both owned by Associated Press, publishers of The Daily Mail, and the Standard especially doesn't get much readership amongst young Londoners. In particular, both papers' cultural coverage is very poor. Time Out is primarily a listings magazine, and a very good one, but has almost no news coverage. You're right in saying that the Big Issue is in many ways our only comparable competitor. We feel a certain amount of guilt about that.

Most other major cities have at least one newspaper that fits into the "alternative weekly" bracket - The Village Voice, The Boston Phoenix, etc. We thought that it'd be good if London had one as well, one with a more liberal agenda (rather than just a Daily Mail mini-me), a focus on both international and local stories, and with a better quality of
intelligent writing than most freesheets and local rags. That's the plan, anyway.

What's on the web right now is just our pilot edition, produced with quite a small staff, which explains why it's a bit thin - it's still very much a work in progress. We hope to launch properly in October. And I can confirm that we'll be writing about Turkmenbashi as often as humanly possible...

He also mentioned that the Independent and the Guardian are national papers, as opposed to local.
posted by jb at 7:11 PM on September 8, 2004

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