AddThis SmartLayers

Regional publisher’s ‘pop-up newspaper’ marks first birthday

A regional publisher’s ‘pop-up’ newspaper which was originally slated to last just four editions has marked its first anniversary in print today.

The New European was launched by Archant in the last year’s EU referendum to cater for the 48pc who voted to remain in the union.

At the time, the Norfolk-based publisher said it would initally run for four issues, with subsequent print runs being decided by reader interest.

But with most national dailies continuing to campaign loudly for ‘hard Brexit,’ the niche title was able to carve out a distinctive place in the market with a base sale of around 20,000.


The 52nd edition of The New European which hit the newsstands today

Priced £2, the bulk of its revenues come from newsstand sales and subscriptions, although print advertising revenues are said to be growing.

In an interview with Press Gazette to mark the anniversary, editor Matt Kelly was asked why he thought the paper had succeeded where other recent national title launches had failed.

Said Matt: “I think there are two main reasons. One is that it was launched in an incredibly short space of time – so we didn’t have time to talk ourselves out of a good idea.

“The second point is that it was absolutely clear who our audience was. We were able to say it’s the paper for the 48 per cent and everybody knew whether it was for them or not.

“I you ask me now is the New European a great success, if I was being really hard on myself I would say it’s an abject failure because my target audience was 16m strong and if I can only sell 20-25,000 copies each week then my God I’m really missing a trick.

“But I think having absolute clarity about who it was for was very handy for us from the off.”

Throughout its first year the The New European has been notable for its striking front pages.  Here are some of Matt’s favourites together with his comments on each.

2016-07-08 - Issue 1Says Matt: “This was our first issue, on sale less than a fortnight after the vote. I fancied a Charlie Hebdo style cartoon on the cover – something I should have taken more trouble to explain to my boss – I meant aesthetically rather than their deliberately provocative style – who went very pale when I told him. When I heard, two weeks later, that this issue had sold more than 40,000 copies, i performed a rather awkward but joyous jig on the Embankment. We were on to something. “

2016-12-16 - AleppoSays Matt: “Perhaps of all the covers we’ve done, this is the one I am most proud of. I published it knowing it would almost certainly cost us sales, as it is such a desperately pitiful image. The design is a pastiche of a Spanish Civil War poster. The original version featured a dead child from Madrid under a sky of German Condor Legion bomber planes. Our cover featured a real photograph of a dead child who had been bombed in Aleppo by Russian fighter jets. Many people thought the headline had been borrowed from a Manic Street Preachers song, but in fact they themselves took the line from the original Spanish poster. As it happens this issue sold rather well, affirming to me that The New Europeans audience care deeply about many things beyond Brexit.”

2017-02-10 - TrumpSays Matt:  “Another top seller and also our most shared front page on social media. But the idea (which we made clear in the paper) was not original. A decade earlier, someone had done a similar treatment of a certain Tony Blair! This had subsequently been copied with Trump by a Vancouver-based mag called Adbusters. What goes around, comes around. This was also the week I appeared on Any Questions on BBCRadio4 – Jonathan Dimbleby described the cover and the artful placement of the barcode and got a great laugh from the respectable Durham audience which I took as a good signal that we had not been too offensive! “

2017-06-10 - Bloody IdiotSays Matt: “The original idea for this cover was for the Number 10 on the Downing Street door to say “idiots” in response to the voters who had secured Theresa May have a thumping great majority. But as the votes came in on edition day, we turned tack and used the insult against the Prime Minister herself, adding a “bloody” for good measure. As with all really great front pages, it works not because it’s clever but because it summed up, very accurately, the nation’s feelings towards the Prime Minister that week.”


You can follow all replies to this entry through the comments feed.
  • July 7, 2017 at 2:39 pm

    I remember all too well when we were assured by the harbingers of doom that the New European wouldn’t last a month. Funny how this paper persists while those who made those predictions are scarcely seen these days.
    Here’s hoping they can dust off their keyboards one last time to muster their congratulations.

    Report this comment

    Like this comment(6)
  • July 10, 2017 at 9:52 am

    Hands up on this one – I didn’t think it would last and it’s turned out good. Of course, it is helped by exploiting staff and resources from sister titles, but why not? As local newspapers increasingly move online, perhaps there is a future in this kind of smaller-scale niche publication. The problem is, could the New European and titles like it ever be in a position to employ large teams of their own? I fear not.

    Report this comment

    Like this comment(5)
  • July 11, 2017 at 11:24 am

    As long as the company props it up financially and siphons off resources to it it will continue,albeit to a limited interest audience and without much visible advertising in there to fund it.
    There was a plan to auction ads into it but that seems to have attracted advertisers.

    It’s a nice project for a larger group to put out but I doubt any stand alone publisher could make a go of it without the factors mentioned above

    Report this comment

    Like this comment(7)
  • July 11, 2017 at 12:43 pm

    Thoroughly agree with Jazzie. Much the same could also be said about Mustard TV.

    Report this comment

    Like this comment(4)