Editor's Letter: It’s the loyal readers who make this paper what it is

After two years I'm moving on from my role as editor

Share

Almost exactly two years ago, the proprietor of The Independent, Evgeny Lebedev, uttered the words I’d been dying to hear. “So, when you start…”

I’d previously been Deputy Editor of The Independent and Independent on Sunday. I’d spent years in the House of Commons as the Indy’s Westminster Correspondent. I’d worked in the paper’s newsroom and on the business pages. Even though I’d left, to go to the Express and then the Evening Standard, I felt bound up with The Independent. I loved its values, its journalism.

Now, here I was, being offered by Evgeny the chance to edit this great paper. What I soon came to realise, as I did the job, was the importance of you, the reader. You want your Independent to stand for intelligence, accuracy and balance, not to take sides politically, never to preach, not to obsess over celebrity and royalty, to focus on the issues and stories that really matter.

None of us is perfect, and when, occasionally, the paper stepped out of line, I would be instantly admonished. One thing I can say with certainty about Indy readers is that you know your minds. You place great store by that word “independent”. You can be fierce and argumentative, funny too, and you’re not afraid of voicing your opinion or taking a different view.

I loved your letters and emails. The passion you displayed for this paper was extraordinary. You made me realise that loyal readers treat their favourite newspaper like a friend. A friend can tell you things you don’t want to hear, they can make you laugh or cry, they can argue and challenge, they can agree and disagree.

I also became aware, if I did not know already, of the brilliance of The Independent’s staff. Clever, hard-working, courageous (the bravery of our writers in Libya and Syria was truly humbling), warm and witty, they really do care about the world. (Something that was not lost on me as well during those two years was that here I was editing a paper that was leading on hacking and the decline in press standards highlighted so graphically at the Leveson Inquiry, yet had itself never hacked, not paid paparazzi nor bribed a public official). 

The time has come for me to move on. Evgeny wants me to help transform the way his media businesses operate, so that he’s got all his journalists working as efficiently as possible, producing content for the Evening Standard, this newspaper, the i, Independent on Sunday and two websites, and due to start airing next year, the London Live TV station.

My new, elevated title of Group Content Director, I accept, has an Orwellian 1984 or John Birt’s BBC ring to it. But we could not find a better name that summarises our changed, multi-platform organisation and our ability to cope with the insatiable demands of the internet, print titles and television.

It’s an exciting, daunting brief.  I’m not going far – one floor up in fact. And soon, I will be joined there by my Indy colleagues as we seek to build one structure, capable of servicing all those different formats.

From Monday, The Independent will be edited by Amol Rajan, currently in charge of our Voices section. To the readers and journalists who make The Independent what it is, I thank you. It’s been a privilege.

React Now

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Information Security Manager (ISO 27001, Accreditation, ITIL)

£70000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Information Security Manager (ISO 27001, A...

C# Developer (HTML5, JavaScript, ASP.NET, Mathematics, Entity)

£30000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Developer (...

C# Integration Developer (.NET, Tibco EMS, SQL 2008/2012, XML)

£60000 - £80000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Integration...

Biztalk - outstanding opportunity

£75000 - £85000 per annum + ex bens: Deerfoot IT Resources Limited: Biztalk Te...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Lord Lawson has been 'banned' from the BBC  

Don't let balance get in the way of truth

Katy Guest
A new election forecast indicates Nick Clegg's Liberal Democrats may hold the power in deciding who forms the next government  

General election latest: computer model predicts the Lib Dems might have even more influence

John Rentoul
Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country

How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over northern Iraq

A speech by an ex-MI6 boss hints at a plan going back over a decade. In some areas, being Shia is akin to being a Jew in Nazi Germany, says Patrick Cockburn
The evolution of Andy Serkis: First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

The evolution of Andy Serkis

First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial: Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried

You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial...

Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried
Refugee children from Central America let down by Washington's high ideals

Refugee children let down by Washington's high ideals

Democrats and Republicans refuse to set aside their differences to cope with the influx of desperate Central Americas, says Rupert Cornwell
Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Malorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...

Blackest is the new black

Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...
Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

The US Ambassador to London holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence – it's all part of the job, he tells Chris Green
Meet the Quantified Selfers: From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor

Meet the 'Quantified Selfers'

From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
Madani Younis: Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Madani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

When it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish – among others – know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor
Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy: Was the otter man the wildlife champion he appeared to be?

Otter man Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy

The aristocrat's eccentric devotion to his pets inspired a generation. But our greatest living nature writer believes his legacy has been quite toxic
Joanna Rowsell: The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia

Joanna Rowsell: 'I wear my wig to look normal'

The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef gives raw ingredients a lift with his quick marinades

Bill Granger's quick and delicious marinades

Our chef's marinades are great for weekend barbecuing, but are also a delicious way of injecting flavour into, and breaking the monotony of, weekday meals
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014 preview: Why Brazilians don't love their neighbours Argentina any more

Anyone but Argentina – why Brazilians don’t love their neighbours any more

The hosts will be supporting Germany in today's World Cup final, reports Alex Bellos
The Open 2014: Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?

The Open 2014

Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?