Britain has been lucky to have the Independent on Sunday for 26 years - and it was a privilege to be its editor

The Independent on Sunday's editor Lisa Markwell pays tribute to the paper as its final edition goes to press

Lisa Markwell
Saturday 19 March 2016 23:58 GMT
The bird has flown: The Independent on Sunday, 1990-2016
The bird has flown: The Independent on Sunday, 1990-2016 (Kyle Bean/Tobi Jenkins)

It was 26 years ago. It was my first job on a newspaper. The staff list was stellar, the approach to news and analysis was fresh and exciting. But it was destined not to last.

No, not The Independent on Sunday. In 1990, I was working on a launch called The Sunday Correspondent, created in part because The Independent didn't have a seven-day operation. I'll never forget the night the paper closed: we were out on the street less than an hour after the announcement. The Independent had decided to launch a Sunday paper after all, and the market wasn't big enough for two modish, lefty titles.

And now we come to the end of The Independent on Sunday. Gallows humour suggests that revenge has been served, stone cold. But the papers that bookend my print career each deserve their place in history. (Career thus far, it should be said; I'm not ready for the hacks' retirement home just yet.)

The Corrie's alumni include internationally renowned stars, but the paper itself shone briefly. Looking back over the Sindy's 26 years, the courage of its campaigns, the verve and intelligence of its reporters, the beauty of its many designs (particularly The New Review) – Britain has been lucky to have it. And from the letters and emails I've received, many of you will feel its loss keenly.

It has been an enormous privilege to be the Sindy's editor these past three years, from the moment the proprietor called to tell me with the words, "Congratulations… I'm going to tweet the news in five minutes" to the last-night party we'll be recovering from as you read this.

My debts are to Evgeny Lebedev, for taking a chance on me, and keeping the paper going in an increasingly brutal economy for newsprint; to the readers, who engaged with such enthusiasm (apart from the one who told me I'd turned the paper into a "special interest title for ladies"); to the previous editors, on whose shoulders I stood: Stephen Glover, Ian Jack, Peter Wilby, Rosie Boycott, Kim Fletcher, Janet Street-Porter, Tristan Davies and John Mullin. Every single one of them, in their own way, kept The Independent on Sunday individual – I pored over bound volumes of years past and never failed to be inspired.

But of course, my most heartfelt tribute must be to the team, who have been truly astonishing in their talent and commitment. Through every crisis, cut and editor's caprice (mine are bad puns and a ban on John Terry), they have created an always compelling read.

Even though we are Fleet Street's smallest team, there are too many to mention, so I'll use the bookends here, too. Production supremo Keith Howitt, whom I met at the Correspondent, joined in 1991 and kept us on time and accurate with singular dedication and almost unwavering good humour all this time; and political editor Tom McTague, who joined just four months ago, but who has made a profound mark in his short tenure.

It's over too soon, of course it is. You'll find much of the terrific journalism from your favourite Sindy writers here on the website and on the daily app – but this is goodbye from your printed companion.

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