'Mould-breaking' Independent named Newspaper of the Year at press awards

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The Independent Online

The Independent has been named National Newspaper of the Year at the British Press Awards, the Oscars of thenewspaper industry.

The judging panelpraised the paper's launch of a compact version as a "heroic decision" and said that "thanks to TheIndependent, the face of British nationalnewspapers has been changed for ever".

Apart from the "skilfully executed" transition to a compact format, thenewspaper had alsoexcelled in its journalism, the judges said. "TheIndependent's approach to the war in Iraq meant it was already having a good year even before itsmould-breaking revamp," the citation read.

Receiving the award on behalf of the paper, theeditor-in-chief, SimonKelner, said: "Our salesfigures have already shown the success of our compact edition with the readers, but the recognition of our peers is hugely rewarding."

Mr Kelner thanked the chairman of Independent News & Media, SirAnthony O'Reilly, for "backing the idea with hard cash".

The National Newspaper of the Year award comes days after February'saudited circulation figures showed The Independent was the only nationalquality newspaper to show a year-on-year risein sales. The annual growth of 15.2 per cent represents the paper's bestperformance since 1995. A circulation of 256,378 is the newspaper's highest since November 1997.

Ivan Fallon, chiefexecutive of Independent News & Media (UK), said: "Not only has the paperreshaped the newspaper landscape in the UK, but its outstanding editorial performancehas now earned the recognition that our readers have demonstrated for some time, from the industry as a whole."