London News Review founders Paul Carr, left, and Charlie Skelton
Finding the “new Private Eye” is widely held to be the publishing equivalent of the holy grail so the launch of the London News Review will be greeted with scepticism.
But with a loyal following of subscribers already paying for the publication in e-mail form, publisher Hangingday may have more chance of success than most.
Founders Paul Carr and Charlie Skelton started The Friday Thing newsletter three years ago. It costs £10 a year to subscribe and is a mixture of mostly light-hearted comment on the weeks’ events.
Explaining the decision to switch to a print format, Carr said: “People generally read The Friday Thing at work and we were getting blocked by lots of companies who are clamping down on e-mail use. It became the obvious move if we wanted to expand much more.
“We did some research and the overwhelming response from people was, ‘Yes we want to be able to read it on the train, in the bath and everywhere else’.”
Issue one comes out on 19 March with a print-run of 10,000, mainly going out to subscribers and has a coverprice of £1. Carr has set up retail circulation deals with Borders bookshops and the Institute of Contemporary Arts and hopes to increase the print-run within a matter of weeks to 30,000.
There is an in-house editorial team of six based at offices in Brick Lane, London.
A pilot issue with a print run of 2,000 copies was produced in October and contributors included Jeremy Hardy, Dave Gorman and the MP Lembit Opik. The content of the first edition proper is being kept under wraps.
The London News Review will be tabloid size and is described by Carr as Britain’s first dedicated comment newspaper.
He said: “By comment we mean why it’s happening and not just what’s happening, with some opinion as well.”
He added: “It’s going to be a lot younger than Private Eye, which is quite set in its ways and has a lot of injokes.
We are also trying to look at a much bigger picture and look at important news in the whole of the world each week.”
Cartoons will be provided by Simpsons creator Matt Groening. The London News Review has the UK rights to his weekly comic strip Life is Hell.
By Dominic Ponsford