i Comment: The passion of our readers lifted us from the start

There's a simple reason why 'i' reaches its 1000th edition today

Share

It is one of those moments when I remember exactly where I was. Standing in an Oxfordshire garden in an effort to find a strong signal on my mobile, I had Andrew Mullins, the managing director of The Independent, on the other end of the line. I was editor of the paper at the time, and I was listening intently to what Andrew had to say. The outcome of the discussions in which the two of us had been engaged for some weeks was that we would become the first newspaper – in Britain certainly, and probably the world – to produce a diffusion line.

Our response to the chilling circulation figures for all national newspapers, and to the reality that, for a growing number of young people, a newspaper was not part of their daily media consumption, was to put a completely new product before them. The Independent has a history of innovation, stretching back from its inception in 1986 – with countless features that were quickly adopted by our rivals – through to the launch in 2003 of Britain’s first quality tabloid (copied by more than 70 papers across the world) but this was, in some ways, the boldest step yet.

We would re-purpose the words that went into The Independent and produce a new kind of paper, one designed for a world in which information and entertainment comes on any number of platforms, in any number of convenient ways. A paper, too, that recognises the time pressures on the modern media consumer, and which gives high quality content in a concise and affordable package.

That wasn’t quite how Andrew may have described it as I walked among the rhododendrons, but it quickly began to make sense to both of us. At that point, I did what I always do when a new project comes along: I brought in people much smarter than I am. And in the history of i, there are some real unsung heroes among those who gave it editorial shape: the contributions made in those embryonic days by Adam Leigh, Louis Jebb, and Richard Askwith, together with the Cases design agency from Barcelona, were utterly crucial, and without whom we possibly wouldn’t be celebrating i’s 1,000th issue tomorrow.

Yes, against a backdrop of unfavourable commercial conditions for newspapers, this little upstart reaches a landmark that some of our mean-spirited critics (i.e. other newspapers’ media commentators) were adamant we would never see. They reckoned without our readers who, from the very start, appeared to make an emotional investment in i. In my time in newspapers, I have never experienced such a sense of ownership from the readership.

I thought the “Letter from the Editor” would be a short-lived feature, maybe just for the first few days to point readers towards our new features. The feedback I got encouraged us to keep it going, and I ended up doing it every day for more than a year, and it’s still going strong, under younger and better-looking, but equally hirsute, direction. A newspaper is only as good as its readers, and that’s the main reason why we’ve reached 1,000 issues.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Reach Volunteering: Financial Trustee and Company Secretary

Voluntary Only - Expenses Reimbursed: Reach Volunteering: A trustee (company d...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Project Manager

£45000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Shopfitter

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join a successful an...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Sales Account Manager

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Digital Sales Account Manager...

Day In a Page

Read Next
‘I’m on a bit of a mission’: Andy Burnham, Labour’s shadow Health Secretary, wants to create an ever-larger NHS  

Thanks to Emily Thornberry's tweet, Andy Burnham will be the next Labour party leader

Matthew Norman
Glossy posse: Editor Kate Reardon (centre) and team  

We Brits are more class obsessed than ever – which plays right into Ukip's hands

Terence Blacker
Mau Mau uprising: Kenyans still waiting for justice join class action over Britain's role in the emergency

Kenyans still waiting for justice over Mau Mau uprising

Thousands join class action over Britain's role in the emergency
Isis in Iraq: The trauma of the last six months has overwhelmed the remaining Christians in the country

The last Christians in Iraq

After 2,000 years, a community will try anything – including pretending to convert to Islam – to avoid losing everything, says Patrick Cockburn
Black Friday: Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Britain braced for Black Friday
Bill Cosby's persona goes from America's dad to date-rape drugs

From America's dad to date-rape drugs

Stories of Bill Cosby's alleged sexual assaults may have circulated widely in Hollywood, but they came as a shock to fans, says Rupert Cornwell
Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

As fans flock to see England women's Wembley debut against Germany, the TV presenter on an exciting 'sea change'
Oh come, all ye multi-faithful: The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?

Oh come, all ye multi-faithful

The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
Dr Charles Heatley: The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

Dr Charles Heatley on joining the NHS volunteers' team bound for Sierra Leone
Flogging vlogging: First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books

Flogging vlogging

First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show: US channels wage comedy star wars

Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show

US channels wage comedy star wars
When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine? When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible

When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine?

When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible
Look what's mushrooming now! Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector

Look what's mushrooming now!

Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector
Neil Findlay is more a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

More a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

The vilification of the potential Scottish Labour leader Neil Findlay shows how one-note politics is today, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Tenderstem broccoli omelette; Fried eggs with Mexican-style tomato and chilli sauce; Pan-fried cavolo nero with soft-boiled egg

Oeuf quake

Bill Granger's cracking egg recipes
Terry Venables: Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back

Terry Venables column

Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back
Michael Calvin: Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

Those at the top are allowing the same issues to go unchallenged, says Michael Calvin