Friday, 12 February 2016

End of independent UK press refers.

My first reaction was a feeling of betrayal, tempered by the memory that I had resolved to give up the print edition of the journal if there had been another unannounced price rise - it seems to have gone up by 20p every year for the past three years.

Apart from the Financial Times, which is not available at every paper-shop, the Lebedevs' decision will leave no national newspaper which is not associated with a political party.

It could have been better. At the time of the launch, the Indy looked to overtake one of the other (then) broadsheet papers, The Times, Telegraph and Guardian, in sales. Indeed, in 1992 it briefly outsold The Times before Rupert Murdoch launched a vicious price-cutting campaign which the less well-capitalised Indy was ill-equipped to resist. The aftermath was that the Mirror Group took a stake and a then Mirror executive and former Murdoch employee, David Montgomery, forced cost savings including the dispersal of a unique library. For me, that was the point of no return as all that remained  of its original unique qualities was the paper's political independence.

Latterly the Indy's expert, experienced, Middle East coverage has kept me loyal. The question is: can the owners hang on to Robert Fisk, Patrick Cockburn and Kim Sengupta. The beady-eyed City coverage has been good, too, and I would also miss John Walsh.

The big switch occurs in March, so I will have at least another month of being able to fill in crosswords when on the move (a paper does not need a power supply).

Will the loss of the Indy give a reprieve to the Guardian, which is still haemorrhaging money? We will have to wait and see.

1 comment:

Frank H Little said...

I had shamefully forgotten Jessica Duchen in my roll-call of reasons to read the Indy: