Art And Culture

‘Independent’ to Close in March

‘Independent’ to Close in March‘Independent’ to Close in March

The newspapers ‘Independent’ and ‘Independent on Sunday’ are to cease publication and go online only, its owner ESI Media has announced.

ESI Media said The Independent, launched in 1986, would become “the first national newspaper title to move to a digital-only future”.

It said there would be “some redundancies among editorial employees”, with the number affected to be confirmed after a consultation period, Sky News reported.

In a letter to staff, owner Evgeny Lebedev predicted other papers would follow suit. He said: “We will be the first of many leading newspapers to embrace a wholly digital future.”

The daily newspaper’s final edition will be published on March 26 and its Sunday sister title will publish for the last time on March 20.

Over the years and under different owners, readership and advertising revenues have tumbled. From a peak of around 400,000 copies a day, circulation has plunged to just over 40,000. The Sunday paper sells less than 43,000 copies.

Meanwhile, the publisher has sold The Independent’s cut-price daily version to regional publisher Johnston Press for $35 million.

ESI said as part of its latest announcement it was creating 25 new digital content roles.

The Independent, set up three decades ago by a group of journalists led by Andreas Whittam Smith, has employed high-profile journalists including Andrew Marr, Robert Fisk, Will Self and Helen Fielding - whose Bridget Jones character started life as a column in the newspaper before becoming a hit novel and blockbuster film.  

“This decision preserves the Independent brand and allows us to continue to invest in the high quality editorial content that is attracting more and more readers to our online platforms. The newspaper industry is changing, and that change is being driven by readers. They are showing us that the future is digital,” Lebedev said.