the i paperThe first edition of the Independent's new "quality" title went on sale today.

Produced by the Independent, i is aimed at capturing lapsed newspaper readers, who are time-poor, with a "colourful and accessible" paper and a 20p price.

The new title features several pages of at-a-glance overviews of the paper's contents, which it calls matrixes. Today's edition is 56 pages long and flags up stories on the housing crisis, Mel Gibson and Sesame Street on its front page. Plenty of space inside is devoted to the Independent's columnists, such as Johann Hari and Deborah Ross.

"We know that, as with any new product, it will take you a little time to feel comfortable with i. But we have tried to make everything as logical as possible, taking seriously our role as your guide through the information overload. The matrix on pages two and three is designed to give you an overview of today's news stories and is replicated in business and sport, so that you can get everything you need to know at a glance," writes editor-in-chief Simon Kelner.

i is the first 'quality' newspaper to be launched since the Independent and Today in 1986.

The title will not have its own website, but has launched a Twitter account, @theipaper, which is promoting a voucher for a week's worth of free copies.

Reaction to launch
Media commentator Roy Greenslade, via his Guardian.co.uk blog, on the content:
"In essence, it is pop paper with serious or, at least, semi-serious content. I say that because it is difficult to regard very short items, even when they deal with serious topics (such as Iran's funding of the Afghan president and Haiti's cholera outbreak) as serious coverage.

"That, of course, is the point of the exercise. It is the belief of the Indy's senior team - especially managing director Andrew Mullins and editor Simon Kelner - that there is an audience for a paper that offers nuggets of information.

"My hunch, on the basis of this first issue, is that the cross-over from full-strength Independent to decaffeinated i will not be too great. The differences between the two papers - Big I and Little i - are greater than the similarities."

Simon Kelner to BBC News on its relationship with the Independent:
"Both papers are catering for totally different markets, they're in totally different parts of the market and we're doing a lot of improvements to the Independent at the same time which will move it a bit more up market. So we're catering for two different needs with two very different papers."

Harriet Dennys, editor, Media Week to BBC News:
"It's basically an Independent lite, I just think if you make something possibly devaluing quality papers still further... because if you're selling something that's as good enough quality as the Independent but for only 20p then are you sending the message that newspapers don't have the same value they used to have."

Kelvin Mackenzie, former Sun editor, speaking on the Today programme:
"What I don't like is the current Independent and, having put them side-by-side for the first time today, I can't see how the current Independent, which is long, boring and political, is going to compete very well, with this rather light, frothy, interesting and not left-wing paper...

"I don't say that this will be a disaster... this is a completely different kind of newspaper, what it's really dropped is the politicisation of newspapers. What I really like is that it's a 56-page paper. Whether it can compete in an online world and also in a video world... I'm very uneasy about."

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