This is the most exciting time in the history of journalism. New tools, new markets, new business models and new audiences are consuming volumes of information once unimaginable. Digital technology makes reaching them easier than ever.
Maintaining world-class standards and high-quality values is the hard part. But it can be done. That’s the context in which The Independent is becoming global, digital – and profitable.
Six years ago my family bought one of the greatest titles in the history of media. It was, however, losing £25m per year. And every day its audience was just over 100,000 readers in print, and under half a million readers online. A lot has changed. We created a new newspaper, i – defying expectation and expensive advice – and invested heavily in our digital products.
As a result, today our journalism will reach nearly 400,000 readers in print, and we have around three million readers online (a third in America; over half through social media; and also more than half on their mobiles). That is down to the effort and brilliance of a remarkable team, who have my deep thanks, and who have ensured we make this bold move from a position of strength, not weakness.
I know that today will be the last time you hear the newspaper crash through your letterbox; the last time you swap a smile and a few coins with the man in the corner shop and walk out with our daily bread under your arm. Some of you might have done that nearly 10,000 times, since 1986. The depth of our gratitude is impossible to express.
In those rather different times, once the newspaper was “off-stone” it was set in stone, and the conversations it sparked tended to occur in private. Now the conversation is part of the story.
Journalism has changed beyond recognition during the lifetime of this newspaper. Therefore the newspaper must change too, adapting to technologies and habits that the paper’s brave founders could not have foreseen. A newspaper has always been a collaboration between readers and writers, but never more so than now, and that collaboration will continue online.
Like our founders, I believe in high-quality reporting, writing and analysis, a global outlook, and an approach that elevates truth and integrity above gossip, lies and invasions of privacy. That is why I very much hope you will join us on the next stage of our journey, whether via independent.co.uk, the mobile app, or The Independent Daily Edition on tablet.
For now, to the printed paper, it’s thank you and goodbye – and enjoy Saturday's excellent souvenir edition.
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