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The Independent retains the optimism and ambition of its youth

John Rentoul was a latecomer to a journalistic adventure that celebrates its 35th anniversary this month

Saturday 16 October 2021 16:42 BST
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Andreas Whittam Smith, founding editor of The Independent, which was launched in 1986
Andreas Whittam Smith, founding editor of The Independent, which was launched in 1986 (Photoshot/Getty)

We are celebrating the 35th anniversary of The Independent this month. David Lister, the last of the original staff still working on the title (he edits the Daily Edition at weekends), wrote a lovely memoir last week. In it he recalled that the name was chosen rather late in the day.

When Andreas Whittam Smith, Matthew Symonds and Stephen Glover raised money for their new newspaper, its working title was The Nation. However, they decided this sounded a bit right-wing, and cast about for an alternative. The Examiner came top of a list given to market researchers to try out on the general public, but fortunately the three founders preferred a name that, although it scored well, came third behind The Examiner and The Chronicle.

As David Lister recalls, research for Saatchi and Saatchi found that The Independent was seen as “a young name; quite left wing but not unbalanced; reasonably open-minded; no class bias; no bias to the professions or business; reasonable sex bias; good for both single and family people; very strong on modern outlook; low regional bias”.

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