Britain’s (latest) press revolution

Britain’s (latest) press revolution
: With its hyperbolimeter turned up high, the Guardian says this is the most momentous time in British news since the Wapping revolution.

The ecology of British newspapers is changing before our eyes because of two unconnected events: the successful launch of the tabloid Independent and the financial crisis enveloping the owner of the Telegraph group, Lord (Conrad) Black.

Note first the paradoxes. The Independent is the newest of papers and the lowest-selling; the Telegraph is one of the oldest and the largest-selling. The former, a left-of-centre paper, has turned around its fortunes by daring to innovate; the latter, a conservative organ, has watched its audience die off and done too little to attract replacements. Both have fallen foul of the same enemy: Rupert Murdoch. Ever since the owner of the Times launched his price war in 1993 he has gradually squeezed the breath out of the two papers, denuding them of readers and threatening their ability to make profits.

Big paper/little paper. Profitable/troubled. Those aren’t revolutions; they aren’t even momentous; they’re life. Momentous is what would happen if the BBC lost its licensing fee. Momentous is what’s happening online. Momentous is a huge shift of audience from one medium to another.

Still, this is interesting stuff. Would a high-brow tabloid work in the U.S. (it would be a better user interface, eh?).