Working for The Independent – exciting from beginning to end

'In the early days we even mourned when someone left The Indy family for another job'

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The Independent Online

This week I dug out my job offer to work on The Independent. It was dated 3 June 1986 and stressed that I would be offered share options. That was the first encouraging indication that we were all in it together. Working at The Indy has always felt like being part of a family. In those early days we even mourned when someone left the family for another job. I recall with some embarrassment telling the guy who sat next to me what a fool he was to leave to try his luck at writing a travel book. Bill Bryson ignored me.

There were tricky moments – as when, in 1989, Andreas strode across the newsroom to me (I was arts correspondent) waving the front page of Salman Rushdie going into hiding and demanding: “I expect you to find him.” Or the time when I dared ask for a pay rise, and the deputy editor, a fast car fanatic, cunningly took me on a drive to discuss it. I was so pleased to get out alive that I withdrew the request. 

I’ve met my heroes – from McCartney, Jagger and Bowie to Gielgud, Domingo and Peter Hall. It was exciting to be there even before the launch, producing dummies, and sitting in the home editor’s garden discussing how we would run big and beautiful pictures. An afternoon tea that led to great innovations. I think we have been innovating ever since. 

David Lister has worked for The Independent since 1986