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Front page of The Independent from 11 October 2011
|Owner||Alexander Lebedev, Evgeny Lebedev|
|Publisher||Independent Print Limited|
|Political alignment||Liberal/radical centre|
|Circulation||182,881 Monday to Saturday; 167,247 Sunday (July 2011)|
|Sister newspapers||The Independent on Sunday
The Independent is a British national morning newspaper published in London by Independent Print Limited, owned by Alexander Lebedev since 2010. Nicknamed the Indy, it was launched in 1986 and is one of the youngest UK national daily newspapers. The daily edition was named National Newspaper of the Year at the 2004 British Press Awards.
Originally a broadsheet newspaper, since 2003 it has been published in a tabloid or "compact" format. The Independent is regarded as leaning to the left politically, but tends to take a classical liberal, pro-market, stance on economic issues. It has not affiliated itself with any political party and features a range of views given on its editorial and comment pages. The paper originally described itself as "free from party political bias, free from proprietorial influence"—a banner it carried on the front page of its daily edition. This banner was dropped in September 2011.
In July 2011 it had an average daily circulation of 182,881, and was the only national daily newspaper in Britain to have increased its circulation over the previous 12 months. During the same period the Sunday edition had a slightly lower circulation, at 167,247.
|This unreferenced section requires citations to ensure verifiability.|
The Independent was first published on 7 October 1986 as a broadsheet. It was produced by Newspaper Publishing plc and created by Andreas Whittam Smith, Stephen Glover and Brett Straub. 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 tension in British journalism. Rupert Murdoch was challenging long-accepted practices and fighting with the print unions. In this atmosphere the new paper attracted staff from Murdoch broadsheets who preferred not to move to Wapping. Launched with the advertising slogan "It is. Are you?", and challenging The Guardian for centre-left readers, and The Times as a newspaper of record, it reached a circulation of over 400,000 in 1989. Competing in a moribund market, The Independent sparked a general freshening of newspaper design as well as a price war. The market was tight and when The Independent launched The Independent on Sunday in 1990, sales were less than anticipated (partly due to the launch of the ill-fated Sunday Correspondent some months earlier). Some aspects of production merged with the main paper, although with a largely distinct editorial staff.
In the 1990s, The Independent started an advertising campaign accusing The Times and The Daily Telegraph of reflecting the views of their 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'.
By the 1990s, Newspaper Publishing had financial problems. Several other newspapers launched in the 1980s, including the Sunday Correspondent, had collapsed without winning enough readers to be profitable, and The Independent was experiencing similar problems. Two European media groups took small stakes. A number of other media companies were interested in the paper. Tony O'Reilly's media group and Mirror Group Newspapers had bought substantial stakes 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 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 critical favour but was a commercial failure, partly as a result of a limited promotional budget. Marr admitted his changes had been a mistake in his book My Trade.
Boycott left in April 1998 to The Daily Express and Marr in May 1998, later to join the BBC as political editor. Simon Kelner was made editor. By this time the circulation had fallen below 200,000. Independent News spent heavily to improve circulation, and the paper had a number of redesigns. While circulation improved, it did not approach 1989 levels or restore profitability; job cuts and 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 losing £5million a year. A gradual improvement meant that by 2006, circulation was at a nine-year high.
In November 2008, following staff cuts, a move of production was announced to Northcliffe House, headquarters of Associated Newspapers. The two newspaper groups' editorial, management and commercial operations remained separate, but they shared services including security, IT, switchboard and payroll.
On 25 March 2010, Independent News & Media sold the newspaper to Alexander Lebedev for a £1 fee and £9.25m over the next 10 months, since closing the Independent and its Sunday title would have cost £28m and £40m respectively, due to long-term contracts. In 2009, Lebedev had bought a controlling stake in the London Evening Standard. Two weeks later, editor Roger Alton stood down.
The Independent was originally published as a broadsheet in a series of celebrated designs. The final version was designed by Carroll, Dempsey and Thirkell following a commission by Nicholas Garland who, along with Alexander Chancellor was unhappy with designs produced by Raymond Hawkey and Michael McGuiness. At the time on seeing the dummies Chancellor said "I thought we were joining a serious paper.” The first edition was overseen by Nicholas Thirkell and implemented by Michael Crozier. From September 2003 it was produced in both broadsheet and tabloid versions, with the same content in each. The tabloid edition was termed “compact” to distance itself from the more sensationalist reporting style usually associated with "tabloid" newspapers in the UK. After launching in the London area and subsequently the northwest, the smaller format appeared gradually throughout the UK. Soon afterwards Rupert Murdoch's Times followed suit and introduced its own tabloid version. Prior to these changes, The Independent had a daily circulation of around 217,500, the lowest of any major national British daily, climbing to claim a 15% rise by March 2004 (to 250,000). Throughout much of 2006, circulation stagnated at a quarter of a million. On 14 May 2004, The Independent produced its last weekday broadsheet, having stopped producing a Saturday broadsheet edition in January. The Independent on Sunday published its last simultaneous broadsheet on 9 October 2005, and has since followed a compact design.
On 12 April 2005, The Independent redesigned its layout to a more European feel, similar to France's Libération. The redesign was carried out by a Barcelona-based design studio. The weekday second section was subsumed within the main paper, double-page feature articles became common in the main news pages, and there were revisions to front and back covers. A new second section, Extra, was introduced on 25 April 2006. It is similar to The Guardian's G2 and The Times' Times2, containing features, reportage and games, including sudoku. In June 2007 The Independent on Sunday consolidated its content into a news section which included sports and business, and a magazine focusing on life and culture.
On 23 September 2008 the main newspaper became full-colour and "Extra" was replaced by a "Independent Life Supplement" focusing on different themes each day.
Three weeks after the acquisition of the paper by Alexander Lebedev and Evgeny Lebedev in 2010, the paper was relaunched with another redesign on 20 April. The new format featured smaller headlines and a new pullout "Viewspaper" section, which contained the paper's comment and feature articles. From 26 October 2010, the same day as its sister paper i was launched, The Independent started to be printed on slightly thicker paper than before and ceased to be full-colour throughout, with many photographs and pictures (though none of those used in adverts) being printed in black and white only.
On 11 October 2011, The Independent unveiled yet another new look, featuring a red, sans-serif masthead.
Following the 2003 switch in format, The Independent became known for its unorthodox and campaigning front pages, which frequently relied on images, graphics or lists rather than traditional headlines and written news content. For example, following the Kashmir earthquake in 2005 it used its front page to urge its readers to donate to its appeal fund, and following the publication of the Hutton Report into the death of British government scientist David Kelly, its front page simply carried the word "Whitewash?". In 2003 the paper's editor, Simon Kelner, was named "Editor of the Year" at the "What the Papers Say" awards, partly in recognition of, according to the judges, his "often arresting and imaginative front-page designs". In 2008 however, as he was stepping down as editor, he stated that it was possible to "overdo the formula" and that the style of the paper's front pages perhaps needed "reinvention".
In 2007, Alan Rusbridger, editor of 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." In a 12 June 2007 speech British Prime Minister Tony Blair called The Independent a "viewspaper", saying 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 criticised Blair's comments the following day. The newspaper has since ironically changed format to include a 'Viewspaper' insert in the centre of the regular newspaper, designed to feature most of the opinion columns and arts reviews. Satirical magazine Private Eye frequently refers to The Independent as The Indescribablyboring.
Under the editorship of Chris Blackhurst, the campaigning, poster-style front pages were scaled back in favour of more conventional news stories.
The weekday, Saturday and Sunday editions of The Independent all include supplements and pull-out subsections –
Daily Monday to Friday The Independent
Saturday's The Independent
The Independent on Sunday
|Headquarters||Northcliffe House, London,
In October 2010 i, a compact sister newspaper, was launched. i is a separate newspaper but uses some of the same material.
On 23 January 2008, The Independent relaunched its online edition, www.independent.co.uk. The relaunched site introduced a new look, better access to the blog service, priority on image and video content and additional areas of the site including art, architecture, fashion, gadgets and health. The paper launched Podcast programmes such as The Independent Music Radio Show, The Independent Travel Guides, The Independent Sailing Podcasts, and The Independent Video Travel Guides. Since 2009, the website has carried short video news bulletins provided by the Al Jazeera English news channel.
The Independent has supported U2 lead singer Bono's Product RED brand by creating The (RED) Independent, an occasional edition that gives half the day's proceeds to the charity. The first edition was in May 2006. Edited by Bono, it drew high sales.
A September 2006 edition of The RED Independent, designed by fashion designer Giorgio Armani, drew controversy due to its cover shot, showing model Kate Moss in blackface for an article about AIDS in Africa.
When the paper was established in 1986, the founders intended its political stance to reflect the centre of the British political spectrum and thought that it would take readers primarily from The Times and The Daily Telegraph. It is now seen as leaning to the left, making it more a competitor to The Guardian, even though it still features conservative columnists such as Bruce Anderson and Dominic Lawson and tends to take a classical liberal, pro-market, stance on economic issues. An Ipsos MORI poll estimated that in the 2010 general election, 44% of regular readers voted Liberal Democrat, 32% voted Labour, and 14% voted Conservative. On the eve of the 2010 general election, The Independent supported the Liberal Democrats, arguing that "they are longstanding and convincing champions of civil liberties, sound economics, international co-operation on the great global challenges and, of course, fundamental electoral reform. These are all principles that this newspaper has long held dear. That is why we argue that there is a strong case for progressively minded voters to lend their support to the Liberal Democrats wherever there is a clear opportunity for that party to win." A leader published on the day of the 2008 London Mayoral election, compared the candidates and said that, if the newspaper had a vote, it would vote first for the Green Party candidate, Sian Berry, noting the similarity between her priorities and those of The Independent, and secondly, with "rather heavy heart", for the then incumbent, Ken Livingstone.
The paper took a strong editorial position against the 2003 Invasion of Iraq, the Iraq War, and aspects of US and UK foreign policy related to the War on Terrorism following the 11 September attacks. It has been a strong supporter of electoral reform. The paper has also taken strong positions on environmental issues, campaigned against the introduction of ID cards, and campaigned against the restriction of mass immigration to the UK. In 1997, The Independent on Sunday launched a campaign for the decriminalisation of cannabis. 10 years later, it reversed itself, stating that the cannabis strain skunk "smoked by the majority of young Britons" in 2007 had become "25 times stronger than resin sold a decade ago."
Originally it avoided royal stories, Whittam Smith later saying he thought the British press was "unduly besotted" with the Royal Family and that a newspaper could "manage without" stories that focused on the monarchy.
In 2010, the paper published an article about Saint Petersburg governor Valentina Matviyenko that was criticized by the Russian blogosphere. 33 people including Soviet dissident Vladimir Bukovsky, members of Russian business groups, political groups, and labor unions filed a complaint to the Press Complaints Commission complaining that the "extremely flattering" portrayal of Matviyenko was "propaganda" and "[i]mportantly, it appears as a news story and not as an opinion column." The article's writer Mary Dejevsky replied that no one encouraged or commissioned her to write the article. She said only the foreign editor knew about the article before publication since she changed the topic of her article at the last minute. Dejevsky believed that her critics may be "looking at Western reports through their own prism" as Russians. She argued that Russians do not realize that British newspapers do not distinguish "between reporting and comment" as clearly as American papers, and British editors like "reports from abroad to have an element of individuality and judgement." She said the article "was based on subjective impressions and judgements. It was not intended to be a rounded profile of Ms Matviyenko." Roy Greenslade of The Guardian believed the complaint was politically motivated and meant to embarrass the Lebedev owners.
The Independent on Sunday
Predominantly The Independent
Predominantly The Independent on Sunday