For the first time in years, a British national newspaper will disappear in the paper version. “The Independent” newspaper known for its centrist pro-European line, will not be distributed on newsstands from 26 March. Only an online version will be maintained, said Friday its CEO, Evgeny Lebedev. His father, the Russian oligarch Alexander Lebedev, bought the title in 2010 for a symbolic book. Last week, he gave another title, “The i” to Johnston Press for 25 million pounds. But he has not found a buyer for “The Independent”, whose sales have collapsed in recent years, falling to 40,000 copies per day fee. A hundred jobs could be eliminated, despite the transfer of part of writing in Johnston. Evgeny Lebedev ensures that the title is not dead and that it will invest in the online version. He even promises to strengthen overseas offices in the United States in particular. For him, the press sector is “in denial” , and other daily adopt a similar strategy.
Despite these reassurances, many fear that the end of the print edition is a first step before the total closure. “How is a good online diary when you have more paper edition? It will be a challenge, “, commented Andreas Whittam Smith, one of the founders of the newspaper. Other British titles are in trouble, the “Guardian”, which was forced to cut costs in the face of falling advertising revenue.
Born in 1986 under Margaret Thatcher, “the independent” has built its success on its independence vis-a-vis political parties. In the late 1980s, the spread reached 428,000 copies per day. He marked by its decision sometimes iconoclastic position, especially against the Iraq war in 2003 or in the fight against climate change. A bit like “Liberation” in France, the newspaper is known for its innovative model and its special editions in partnership with celebrities like Bono and artist Damien Hirst.
” the Independent “was the first newspaper said quality to move to tabloid format in 2003 (it has since been followed by the” Times “). The pro-European Britons regret that “The Independent” disappears a few months before the referendum on membership of the Union. Other newspapers, with the exception of “Guardian” center-left were particularly eurosceptics in recent months.
A picture in the “Libération”
Correspondent in London