MEDIA: THE INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY - AN EXPERT'S VIEW. Tim Mellors looks at the newly relaunched Independent on Sunday unveiled last weekend

In the past, the only time I have bought The Independent on Sunday

is when nothing else is left in the Watford Gap service station on the

M1 at 9 o'clock on a Sunday evening. It's not that I'm particularly

brand loyal to our two regular Sunday reads, The Observer and The Sunday

Times - in fact I can see a yawning gap in the market between The

Observer's highbrow lefty dinner party stance and The Sunday Times'

over-informed, monied smugness. But I wasn't expecting the new paper to

do much to fill that gap as I ambled to the newsagents to pick one up

after Campaign asked me to review the revamp under the new editor,

Tristan Davies.

To lay my cards on the table, I find it difficult to forgive The

Independent for bitterly disappointing a strong loyal readership which

dwindled from being zealous in the 80s to pathetic in the 90s as the

paper eschewed all the values it stood for at its heroic launch. I

worked with Andreas Whittam-Smith, its editor, and the brilliant (then

young) journalists such as Steven Glover and Matthew Parris at the

feverishly exciting launch of the first quality daily in 150 years.

The paper was a heady mix of searching, informed journalism, crisp

layout, incisive, daringly cropped pictures and of course, independent


When I put the campaign under the rallying cry "The Independent, it is,

are you?" no-one sneered, yawned or carped because it was true.

That being said, I am impressed with the new Independent on Sunday.

Indeed, it has some of that fresh as a new shirt in cellophane bag feel

about it. The layout is readable and not overstuffed like The Sunday


Pictorially it echoes the effectiveness of the first paper - the picture

editor seems proud of the photographs and gives them appropriate


Like The Observer, The Independent on Sunday seems beguiled by lists and

charts, a form of pop journalism perfected by USA Today but,

unlike The Observer, there is a degree of refreshing wit and a bit of

attitude in them. The sport and magazine sections feel a bit "me too",

but the financial sections are thorough and much more digestible than

other Sundays'.

I think it is clever to give the former editor, Janet Street-Porter, a

think piece in the review. She is much better at acerbic and artistic

opinion (as we can see from her TV work) than holding the editor's


Of course, it is the first issue so we are probably seeing the

Independent in its Sunday best, but if it sticks to its knitting I for

one will be giving it a try.

Publisher: Independent Newspapers

Price: pounds 1.10

Relaunch date: 17 June

Full-page ad rate, colour: pounds 24,500

Full-page ad rate, black and white: pounds 15,900

Advertisers include: BT, Boots, Halifax, Alfa Romeo, Genie, Barnardo's