OWNER Evgeny Lebedev has today confirmed that the Independent and the Independent on Sunday are set to cease print production next month.
The publication, which has been running for 30 years, will become “digital-only” after declining newspaper sales in recent years have left circulation at fewer than 60,000 copies sold per day.
The i, the Independent’s compact daily edition, will be sold to Johnston Press in a cut-price deal.
The final print edition of the Independent will roll off the presses on March 26, while the last Independent on Sunday will be published on March 20.
Cardiff University Professor Ian Hargreaves CBE, who became the Independent’s second editor in 1994, described his reaction to today’s news.
“My general reaction is of course, great sadness, to see a newspaper that I have admired from the time it began end in this way.
Prof Hargreaves, who is now head of digital economy at Cardiff University, still holds the paper in high regard.
“The Independent was a project with a dream that any journalist would identify with.
It was a paper that didn’t take it’s readers’ political views and their lives for granted, but tried instead to give them information and insight, amuse them, entertain them, and captivate them in a way made them feel part of a distinctive and fortunate community to be readers of the independent, and I certainly felt very fortunate to be the editor of the paper.”
Dr Paul Lashmar, a senior journalism lecturer at the University of Sussex who has worked on and off for the Independent since 1998, described the decision to end print editions as ” a great loss for the newspaper industry”.
“It has maintained a unique voice in the newspaper sector, making judgements on the evidence rather than the politics more often than other papers.
“The Independent has always had restricted resources so it has done extraordinarily well on the resources available to it, but more and more people are getting their news online for free and this has worked against it.
“The i is a newspaper for people that don’t want to spend a lot of time reading a newspaper – it’s like mobile journalism for people that don’t want to read on the mobile, so hopefully this will continue without major changes.”