Welcome to a very special 30th anniversary edition of The Independent. Inside you’ll find 30 of the best front pages, news reports, cartoons, comment pieces and photographs. Together they present a snapshot of a great paper at an exciting moment in its history.
The challenge for all newspaper proprietors who love journalism is how to run a viable business while keeping the soul of the newspaper alive. When The Independent was founded, it didn’t have an owner at all. It was forged in a spirit of rebellion, of presenting the alternative view. The owners who’ve come since have always tried to maintain that spirit in the face of challenging conditions.
Some, like the decline of print circulation, were long heralded. Others were more surprising. Few foresaw the crash of 2008, and the attendant collapse in the advertising market. My father and I bought the paper in 2010, when it was losing millions of pounds a year and had zero digital revenue. We invested heavily in the paper and the website, but more challenges were round the corner. Ad-blocking software, Facebook and Google’s dominance of online advertising, to name a few.
But the new world brings new opportunities, too. Closing the print edition six months ago was an extremely difficult decision, but the correct one to safeguard The Independent. It has enabled us to focus on the future, and reach as large a readership as possible.
The editor Christian Broughton and his team are doing an amazing job and we have more readers than ever. Any day now our US traffic will overtake our British traffic: a huge step towards sharing our journalism around the Anglophone world. Writers such as Robert Fisk, Patrick Cockburn, Grace Dent and John Rentoul deserve the biggest platform possible and it is our aim to provide it.
Ultimately, however, we are defined by our readership. For all the brilliance of the editors, the star columnists, the unseen staff behind the bylines who put it all together, it is you who have made this paper such a unique proposition over the past 30 years, and why I am so proud to be its proprietor as it looks forward to the next 30. Thanks for reading.
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