Introducing Independent TV, a new way to see and experience trusted news and analysis from around the world

A new service, launched this week, brings you Independent news, analysis, comment, sport, lifestyle, arts – and more – to screens large and small

Christian Broughton
Friday 18 December 2020 20:03
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After the blast: The race to escape Lebanon's shattered economy

This week an exciting new episode for The Independent begins.

Almost five years since we made the groundbreaking move from print to fully digital publishing, becoming the first and still only major newspaper in the world to make the leap successfully, we are now launching Independent TV, offering news, arts, lifestyle, sports and live footage in video form as well as the written word.

Visit independent.tv on your smartphone, laptop, desktop or tablet, and you will see a new area of our website where the written text comes second, and our journalists – including many familiar bylines, soon-to-become familiar faces too, of course – tell their stories with video footage and animated graphics.

It has sent a crackle of excitement through our teams, and has posed a new set of challenges of creativity, skill development and, less glamorously, logistics. As ever, the enthusiasm of the endlessly talented Indy editorial staff has really led the way.

We are lucky enough to have many colleagues who are no strangers to working in video form. Bel Trew, our correspondent in Beirut, always packs a professional camera and microphone for her reporting trips around the Middle East, even when we editors back in London or New York have not requested reportage footage. 

The ability to see events unfold for yourself enriches any report. Seeing is more than just believing – it’s feeling the emotions of lives touched by conflict and hardship.

In front of the camera, Simon Calder is a regular feature on our screens – BBC News, Sky and ITN – whenever big travel news breaks. I remember one wag tweeting a message to “pray for Simon” when, momentarily, an alternative pundit cropped up on the rolling news. And if I had a penny for every time an Independent news editor has looked up at a TV screen and muttered “No wonder I can’t get hold of Calder…”. Well, now we can keep him even busier, presenting his unique travel news and analysis on Independent TV too.

The service will develop significantly throughout the year ahead. High among our new year’s resolutions is to bring you a regular schedule, covering everything from serious global current affairs to the equally urgent subject of millennial dating protocols. There will be more in-depth documentary work, which we hope you will enjoy in the clean, full-screen experience.

Among the first short explainers we have for you are Ben Chu, our economics editor (whose on-screen skills were well polished during a year he spent recently in the same role at the BBC’s flagship Newsnight programme), looking ahead at what needs to happen for the economy to bounce back in 2021. Elsewhere, Samuel Lovett offers a graphical explanation of the science behind, and likely impacts of, the Covid-19 vaccines. And Bel Trew, true to form, popped up somewhat unexpectedly with a video report on refugees fleeing the shattered economy in Lebanon, almost six months on from the blast that left Beirut broken. Seeing for yourself the anguish on the faces of these desperate families caught in an economic storm makes her report all the more powerful.

And I must mention the multimedia team. Much like our sub-editors and commissioning editors, these are the people whose contributions rarely come with public credit, but who are key to bringing vital journalism to our audiences. So thanks to Tom Richell, Claire Lomas and their growing team. It has been satisfying to have created one new job so far (especially in this of all years), with more to follow, and to see the ambition of Independent TV standing in stark contrast to the economic gloom.

In truth, our video journalism has long made a significant contribution to the sustainability of The Independent. Up to 95 million videos are watched on our website each month, plus many more on our YouTube, Facebook and Twitter accounts. Please spend some time on the new Independent TV hub, see what the team has made so far, and help us by letting us know your thoughts, and what you would like to see, by emailing video@independent.co.uk.

You’ll find all kinds of improvements in the weeks and months to come – from design tweaks improving the user experience to new shows presented by different members of the editorial team. All the while, we hope you’ll get to know our journalists a little better, and experience their stories in meaningful new ways.

Christian Broughton is managing director of The Independent

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