Learn more about The Independent
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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 261,193 in November 2005 according to the UK Audit Bureau of Circulations. The paper was named National Newspaper of the Year at the 2004 British Press Awards.
 Creation in 1986
The Independent is the youngest British broadsheet newspaper, first published on the 7th of October 1986. Despite it no longer being published in broadsheet format, the other connotations of the term still apply. 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 regime of Lord Hartwell. Marcus Sieff became 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 than others, mainly because it had not been around long enough for the relations to sour.
Launched with the advertising slogan "It is. Are you?", and challenging The Guardian for similarly politically liberal readers, 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 and content 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 hoped for. 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 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. Several other newspapers launched in the 1980s had swiftly collapsed without establishing a large enough loyal core of readers to ensure profitability, and The Independent was experiencing similar problems. Two European media groups took small stakes in the company. A number of other media companies were interested in the paper for a number of reasons. Both 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 .
 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 generally well received by readers and was rolled out gradually throughout the UK. Rupert Murdoch's Times quickly 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, but has since claimed a 15% rise in circulation as of March 2004 (taking it to circa 250,000). 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 broadsheet edition on October 9, 2005, and has since also followed a "compact" design.
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.
 Politics and readers
While The Independent claims to genuinely represent contrasting political opinions, and expressed that a hung parliament would be the best outcome of the 2005 General Election, its politics are probably closest to those of Liberal Democrats. 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 moderate, liberal, quite well educated, a Liberal Democrat or perhaps Labour voter and interested in issues about the environment. These values are directly reflected onto the newspaper's style. The paper's editorial line favours the implementation of proportional representation and the tackling of climate change through governmental measures. In recent years, it has often had critical, editorial style, front page spreads on George W. Bush, Tony Blair, and Israeli foreign policy. It has recently run campaigns for electoral reform and against the introduction of ID cards and the restriction of mass migration into the UK. It also has many articles written by female journalists and journalists belonging to minorities.
The Independent mocks the excessive coverage which it believes other British newspapers give the British monarchy by deliberately underplaying royal news. When it was announced that Charles, Prince of Wales would marry Camilla Parker-Bowles in 2005, The Independent mentioned it in a small box on its front page among eleven other items under the heading "HERE IS THE NEWS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED". Similar play has been given to news of royal births.
The Independent is frequently satirised, particularly by Private Eye for its front pages, which are often dominated by lists of statistics related to some issue it is campaigning on, or an expressly politicised leader article, rather than more traditional photographs and news.
 The (RED) Independent
The Independent has recently shown support for U2 lead singer Bono's Product RED charity 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. The first edition, printed in May 2006 and edited by Bono, drew high sales but also criticism due to letting a non-journalist edit the paper.
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 dressed in blackface for an article about AIDS in Africa.
The Independent on Sunday
There have also been various guest editors over the years, such as U2's Bono in 2006.
 Writers and columnists
 External links
- Website of the newspaper "The Independent"
- Campaign for Electoral Reform
- "The Independent" at "Find Articles"
- "The Independent on Sunday" at "Find Articles"de:The Independent