The Independent

The Independent

Infobox Newspaper
name = The Independent

caption = The current front page layout of The Independent
type = Daily newspaper
format = Compact
foundation = 1986
owners = Independent News & Media
political = Liberal / Centre Left

£0.80 (Monday-Friday) £1.40 (Saturday) £1.80 (Sunday)
headquarters = Canary Wharf,
London, UK
editor = Daily - Roger Alton, Sunday - John Mullin
website = []
circulation = 243,398cite news
last = Tryhorn
first = Chris
title = April ABCS - Financial Times dips for second month
language = English
publisher =
date = 9 May 2008
url =
accessdate = 2008-05-24
] (Monday-Friday)
225,403 [cite news
last = Brook
first = Stephen
title = April ABCS - Monthly gains for two Sunday qualities
language = English
publisher =
date = 9 May 2008
url =
accessdate = 2008-05-24
] (Sunday)

"The Independent" is a British compact newspaper published by Tony O'Reilly's Independent News & Media. It is nicknamed the "Indie", with the Sunday edition, "The Independent on Sunday", being the "Sindie". Launched in 1986, it is one of the youngest UK national daily newspapers, with a circulation of 240,503 in May 2008 according to the UK Audited Bureau of Circulations. The Sunday edition has bucked its trend of faring worse than its daily sister; up 1.63% in the last nine months to August 2007 at 216,371, and at May 2008 a readership of 200,920. The first rise for a considerable time would seem to reflect a buoying effect of the June 2007 relaunch. The daily edition was named "National Newspaper of the Year" at the 2004 British Press Awards. The Independent is politically left-leaning. [ [ U.K. paper follows rivals into tabloid format: At The Times, size matters - International Herald Tribune ] ]


Creation in 1986

"The Independent" is the youngest of the current British "compact" newspapers, first published on 7 October 1986 as a broadsheet. It was produced by Newspaper Publishing Ltd. and created by Andreas Whittam Smith, Stephen Glover and Matthew Symonds. All three were former journalists at "The Daily Telegraph" who had left the paper towards the end of Lord Hartwell's ownership. Marcus Sieff was the first chairman of Newspaper Publishing and Whittam Smith took control of the paper.

The paper was created at a time of considerable tension in British journalism. Rupert Murdoch was challenging long accepted practices and was fighting with the print unions. In this unsettled atmosphere the newly created paper was able to attract very good staff from the Murdoch broadsheets, who chose to jump ship rather than move to Wapping. "The Independent" also had a rather better relationship with its printers,Fact|date=May 2007 mainly because it had not been around long enough for the relations to sour.Fact|date=September 2008

Launched with the advertising slogan "It is. Are you?", and challenging "The Guardian" for its politically centre-left readers, and "The Times" as a 'newspaper of record', it reached a circulation of over 400,000 in 1989. Competing for readers in a moribund market, the arrival of "The Independent" was one of the factors that sparked both a general freshening of newspaper design as well as a costly 'price war'. The market was very tight, and when "The Independent" launched an independent Sunday edition in 1990, sales were less than anticipated. Some aspects of production were consequently merged with the main paper, although Sunday publication did continue with a largely distinct editorial staff.

In the 1990s, "The Independent" started an advertising campaign, accusing its rivals, "The Times" and "The Daily Telegraph" of reflecting the views of their respective proprietors, Rupert Murdoch and Conrad Black. It featured spoofs of their mastheads with the words 'THE RUPERT MURDOCH', 'The Conrad Black', and below, 'THE INDEPENDENT'.

Financial problems

By the 1990s it became clear that the parent company, Newspaper Publishing, was suffering financial difficulties. Several other newspapers launched in the 1980s (the "Sunday Correspondent" being one example) had swiftly collapsed without establishing a large enough base of loyal readers to ensure profitability, and "The Independent" was experiencing similar problems. Two European media groups soon took small stakes in the company. A number of other media companies were interested in the paper for a number of reasons. Both Sir Tony O Reilly's media group and Mirror Group Newspapers developed substantial stakes in the company by mid 1994. In March 1995 Newspaper Publishing was restructured with a rights issue, splitting the shareholding into Independent News & Media (43%), MGN (43%), and Prisa ("El Pais", 12%). In the same month, Whittam Smith left the paper.

In April 1996 there was another refinancing and in March 1998 O'Reilly bought out the other 54% of the company for £30 million, and assumed the company's debt. Brendan Hopkins headed Independent News while Andrew Marr was appointed editor of "The Independent" and Rosie Boycott of "The Independent on Sunday". Marr introduced a dramatic if short-lived redesign which won some critical favour, but was largely a commercial failure, partly as a result of a limited promotional budget. (Marr has since admitted his changes were foolhardy in his semi-autobiographical work "My Trade".)

Boycott left in April 1998 (to "The Daily Express") and Marr in May 1998 (later to join the BBC as its Political Editor). Simon Kelner was made the new editor. By this time the circulation of the paper had fallen to below 200,000. Independent News spent heavily to improve circulation and the paper underwent a number of redesigns. While circulation improved it did not approach the 1989 figures or restore the paper to profitability and the job cuts and tight financial controls took their toll on the journalists and their morale. Ivan Fallon, on the board since 1995 and once a key figure at the "Sunday Times", replaced Hopkins as head of Independent News & Media in July 2002. By mid 2004, the newspaper was still losing £5million a year. A gradual improvement has meant that by 2006, with circulation at a nine year high, profitability is expected soon. [cite news|last=Lelic|first=Sarah|url=|title=INM eyes Independent profit||date=2006-09-19]

Change from broadsheet to tabloid size

"The Independent" was originally published in broadsheet form, but from September 2003 was produced in a choice of broadsheet and tabloid forms, with the same content in each. The tabloid version was termed by the newspaper "compact", to distance itself from the racy, down-market publications usually associated with the term "tabloid". The smaller format was rolled out gradually throughout the UK. Rupert Murdoch's "Times" followed suit, introducing its own "compact" version. Prior to these changes, "The Independent" had a daily circulation of around 217,500, the lowest of any major national British daily newspaper, climbing to claim a 15% rise in circulation by March 2004 (taking it to circa 250,000). Throughout much of 2006, circulation generally stagnated at the quarter of a million mark. On 14 May 2004, "The Independent" produced its last weekday broadsheet edition, having stopped producing a Saturday broadsheet edition in January. The "Sindie" (Independent on Sunday) published its last simultaneous broadsheet edition on 9 October 2005, and has since also followed a "compact" design; the only UK weekly newspaper to do so thus far.

On 12 April 2005, "The Independent" unveiled a 'radical redesign' of its layout to a more European feel, somewhat similar to France's "Libération". (The redesign was carried out by a Barcelona design studio.) The weekday second section was subsumed within the body of the main paper, double-page feature articles became common in the main news pages, and there were revisions to both front and back covers. It has spent over £1,000,000 on promotion.

On 25 April 2006, a new second section, "Extra" was introduced. It is similar to "The Guardian's G2" and "The Times' Times2", containing features, reportage and games, including Sudoku.

On 23 September 2008 the newspaper became a full colour newspaper

Politics and readers

thumb|300px|Front_page_of_Robert Fisk claiming that Israel used uranium-based weapons in southern Lebanon during the 2006 Lebanon War, a claim later broken by a UN panel of experts, the IAEA and other international agencies.]

While "The Independent" claims to represent contrasting political opinions, hosting right-wing columnists such as Bruce Anderson and Dominic Lawson, its politics are probably the most left-wing of any national British daily. A MORI Poll taken between April-June 2000 showed that 60% of "Independent" readers were Labour Party voters (cited in "International Socialism" Spring 2003, ISBN 1-898876-97-5). A 2004 [ poll] by MORI showed that 39% of its readers were Liberal Democrat voters whilst 36% supported Labour.

The stereotypical reader of "The Independent" is politically left-wing and interested in issues concerning the environment.Fact|date=February 2007 These values are directly reflected in the newspaper's style. The paper's editorial line favours the implementation of proportional representation and the tackling of climate change through governmental measures. However, it is not uncommon for the editorials to cover right-wing ideas, thus making it difficult to place the paper on the political spectrum.

In recent years, it has often had critical, editorial-style front page spreads on George W. Bush, Tony Blair, and Israeli government policies. As part of its criticism, "The Independent" accused Israel of being guilty of using uranium-based shells in Lebanon. This accusation turned out to be false. [ [ The Daily Star - Politics - Panel finds 'no evidence' Israel used depleted uranium in 2006 war ] ] [ [ Phosphorus shells used in Lebanon invasion, UN says - Middle East, World - ] ] [ [{2124E243-7360-4A15-8222-A44879E625C4} FrontPage Magazine ] ]

It has recently run campaigns for electoral reform and against the introduction of ID cards and the restriction of mass migration into the UK. Originally, "The Independent" has consciously avoided Royal stories; Whittam Smith once commented that he did this to protect the institution rather than out of republican motives. The newspaper still gives comparatively little attention to the British monarchy.

"The Independent" sponsors The Longford Prize, named in memory of Lord Longford.

"The Independent" is frequently satirised, particularly by "Private Eye" for its front pages, often dominated by statistics on specific political issues or an expressly politicised leader article, rather than more traditional news and photographs. "Private Eye" has in the past referred to "The Independent" as "The Indescribablyboring" or "The Irrelevant".

In a speech given on 12 June 2007, British Prime Minister Tony Blair called "The Independent" a "viewspaper": [ [ Full text: Blair on the media] , BBC News, 12 June 2007]

quote|Comment is a perfectly respectable part of journalism. But it is supposed to be separate. Opinion and fact should be clearly divisible. The truth is a large part of the media today not merely elides the two but does so now as a matter of course.

In other words, this is not exceptional. It is routine. The metaphor for this genre of modern journalism is the Independent newspaper. Let me state at the outset it is a well-edited lively paper and is absolutely entitled to print what it wants, how it wants, on the Middle East or anything else.

But it was started as an antidote to the idea of journalism as views not news. That was why it was called the Independent. Today it is avowedly a viewspaper not merely a newspaper.

"The Independent" attacked Blair's comments on its front page the next day, accusing him of hypocrisy over his alleged fawning to the Murdoch press. Two months before Blair's speech, Alan Rusbridger, the editor of the The Guardian, said of the Independent:

"The emphasis on views, not news, means that the reporting is rather thin, and it loses impact on the front page the more you do that." []

On 23 January 2008, "The Independent" successfully relaunched its online edition [] . [ [ Full text: Welcome to The Independent's new website] , The Independent, 23 January 2008] Generally seen as a critical and commercial success, [ [ Full text: Independent unveils revamped website] ,, 23 January 2008] the relaunch introduced a radical new look, better access to the popular blog service, priority on image and video content and a range of additional areas of the site including Art & Architecture, Fashion, Gadgets & Tech and Health & Wellbeing.

The (RED) Independent

"The Independent" has recently shown support for U2 lead singer Bono's Product RED brand by creating an edition of the newspaper called "The (RED) Independent", an occasional edition of the paper that gives half of the day's proceeds to the charity. [cite news|last=Vallely|first=Paul|url=|title=A red revolution on the high street|publisher=The Independent|date=2006-05-15] The first edition was printed in May 2006. Edited by Bono, it drew high sales. [cite news|url=|title=They found what they were looking for||date=2006-05-23]

A September 2006 edition of "The RED Independent", designed by fashion designer Giorgio Armani, drew controversy [cite news|last=Pool|first=Hannah|url=,,1878483,00.html|title=Return to the dark ages|publisher=The Guardian|date=2006-09-22] due to its cover shot, showing model Kate Moss dressed in blackface for an article about AIDS in Africa.


Following newspaper trends, the Saturday and Sunday editions of "The Independent" provide a considerably more substantial read, constituting a considerable bulk, published as they are with a host of regular supplements and pull-out subsections. The four- and five-part publications, respectively, consist in addition to the main paper of:

Notable photographers

*Timothy Allen
*Jonathan Evans
*Brian Harris
*Tom Pilston
*David Rose
*David Sandison

In popular culture

In Nigel Williams' book "Scenes from a Poisoner's Life", the only newspaper allowed in the house of Henry Farr (the main protagonist) by his wife Elinor is "The Independent on Sunday".


External links

* [ Website of the newspaper "The Independent"]
* [ Website of the newspaper "The Irish Independent"]

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