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Ashley Highfield

Business Insider interview

10 Apr, 2016

Highfield says that he hopes i readers don’t notice the difference when they pick up the paper when it publishes. He says the company isn’t even running an advertising campaign to mark the relaunch.

That’s going to be the number one objective: to a reader, all those names you know and love, and the design, and the layout — everything should be the same. If there’s anything that’s not the same, I want it to be better.

Highfield says that the site will not have clickbait and will have a revenue model that will focus mostly on sponsorship and native advertising.

We will be no going after traffic for the sake of traffic. I think we will be very true to the paper and therefore create a clear proposition that we think does not exist in the UK: there is not a politically independent, concise, quality read online and I think that will find a market. We’re not trying to be The Guardian, or BBC Online, or be an — I think that would be foolish. What we are going to try to do is stick very closely to the brand values of the i: a quality, concise daily digest, updated continually but at any one moment, when you go to the site, the idea is the matrix will give you everything you need to know to be informed on the day. I think that possibly flows better to the zeitgeist than the acres of never-ending content.

On competition:

We have 900 journalists [across the Johnston Press group] who in turn have a network of thousands of bloggers and contributors… in terms of our reach, we already have a network of thousands of people who write for us in a professional capacity, and that’s bloody hard to undermine.