I grew up reading The Independent. My parents have been subscribers almost since the first edition was published, the year after I was born. It was an ever-present component of our kitchen table. It is hard to believe that it will no longer be there.
When I was a kid growing up in Edinburgh, I had a paper round in the summer. I would get up at the crack of dawn, delivering copies of the morning editions on my bike. As I pushed papers through the letterboxes, I wondered idly why the paper that my parents read cover-to-cover didn’t seem to be as popular as the red-tops. I would return home every morning, ink all over my fingers.
Years later, in May 2007, I turned up at the paper’s offices in London on work experience. It was strange to see the newspaper I had always read literally being produced by people around me. I was lucky – I got a break. Lucy Hodges, the then editor of the now long-defunct education supplement, offered me a casual job over the summer. Here was my chance, I thought.
I still remember the kindness that the Indy’s extremely busy journalists showed me when it became apparent that I was going to be hanging around for a few months. I sat near the specialists: Richard Garner, Jeremy Laurance, Steve Connor, Mike McCarthy, Robert Verkaik – they all had time for a word of advice when I needed it.
The education project was great, but I wanted to be a news reporter. Luckily, the Indy’s then news desk – led by Julian Coman and Lizzie Davies – were stressed enough to take a chance on me late one Monday afternoon in March 2008 for a 550-word news story.
Since then, I have never left the Indy, and have never wanted to. For me, what made the paper special was the people: endlessly humorous, kind and willing to work far harder than seemed reasonable for a newspaper that always seemed likely to close.
Having now moved back to Edinburgh to be the paper’s Scotland editor, I sometimes see kids doing the same paper round I once did. Maybe from tomorrow they will be grateful that their bags will be a bit lighter. I am just grateful to have been part of it.
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