“ British compact newspaper published by Tony O'Reilly's Independent News & Media. It is nicknamed the Indie, with the Sunday edition, The Independent on Sunday, being the Sindie. Launched in 1986, it is one of the youngest UK national daily newspapers. „
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I'm a sucker for the under dog... I always avoid the popular bars in favour of tired old pubs; I vote for the hopeless third choice party in most elections and I love the reliable old Indy.
Sitting at the left of the British political spectrum, the Independent is definitely the underdog of Europe's liveliest newspaper industries. It's closest competitor is the far more successful but far arguably more middle class and more "middle England" Guardian. The more substantial circulation figures and financial backing of the Guardian don't help the Indy, but it's for precisely those reasons I stick to the Independent. While the Guardian represents a largely predictable political agenda, the Independent carries genuinely provocative and intelligent liberal writing, and the hefty comment pages include some must-read writers (such as Johann Hari, Andreas Whittam-Smith, Bruce Anderson etc). Since we can access news reporting 24/7 through dozens of different media outlets, buying a newspaper in this day and age should be more about the opinion content than the actual news reporting, and the Indy gets the balance just how I like it. I also like the format, design and general language of the paper.
There have been some difficult changes - the brave switch from broadsheet to tabloid format was the first of its kind in the UK, and was subsequently aped less successfully by other papers (such as the Times) that didn't make such a bold change in print design at the same time. Most recently (in 2008) the paper switched to full colour throughout and simultaneously hiked the weekday price up to £1. Whether or not readers will ditch the Indy in the long term has yet to be seen, but with virtually every national newspaper in the UK currently experiencing year-on-year declines in sales, pushing the price up is a brave way to establish the value of the paper.
You buy the newspaper that tells you what you want to read - but I must admit I buy the Indy because it also tells me what I want to read in a way I want to read it.
My personal newspaper of choice is The Independent, primarily because I find it informative and free from the political bias that seems to pervade many of the newspapers in the UK. If you read the right wing and rather racist Daily Mail or the Labour loving Mirror then in my opinion you are only getting a blinkered one sided view of the news while in the case of The Independant you will get a balanced analysis of events and some well considered opinions offerred in the editorials.
That is not to say that I agree with everything I read or take it just at face value however the editorials and articles contained in the paper do give me something to reflect upon and to base an opinion against.
The paper falls within the broad sheet category of newspaper and is published on a daily basis. It is not what I would call high brow in the sense that it is not full of itself instead it provides a comprehensive review of the domestic and international news with the inside pages focusing on more detailed articles which might voice an opinion of the particular writer.
It also has an excellent coveridge of the arts as well which I really like although my other half does moan a bit that the sports coveridge is not as good as some other papers but then there are plenty of good internet sites and TV sports news channels for him to get his daily fix.
I like the balance of The Independent and certainly recommend it.
The newspaper broadsheet market is very competitive. When The Independent was launched the traditional broadsheets, The Times, Telegraph and Guardian had strongly established their place in the market. Each had a readership which was defined by broadly political affiliations.
The Independent sought to establish therefore a place in a market it should have had all to itself. After some initial difficulties The Independent did establish a viable sales circulation figure but that has now tailed off and current sales have levelled off below 300,000.
In the early days of its first launch I was an avid reader of the The Independent. It was refreshingly new and appeared far more objective than the old broadsheet titles. However I got fed up with it. What it lacked was humour particularly the self-effacing humour that prevents a person or organisation becoming to pompous and taking itself far too seriously. The Independent certainly did that.
It did also fall into the trap which all the broadsheets have which is if writing an article about a political subject then it was necessary to be critical. Broadsheet journalists notoriously all believe they should be running the country but let's remember we were expecting something new from The Independent.
Sports coverage was also somewhat lacking and all the better sports journalists seemed to avoid writing in The Independent.
For the purposes of this review I decided to revisit The Independent for a week to see how it compared with The Independent I remember from years ago. I am sorry to say I found little to recommend it. It is not that The Independent is a bad newspaper, far from it. It is just that I can find little to recommend it compared with eg The Times.
The home news section is well written but not compelling so and whereas the Times has little sub-sections in the news relevant to a particular story The Independent does not carry them. The foreign news again is thoroughly and competently covered but I found some of the articles distracting idiosyncratic. Unusually for one of the broadsheets the editorial is not carried within the main body of the newspaper but in the accompanying section. I did find the editorial refreshingly objective and a range of comment articles were also consistently very interesting. The letters page carried an eclectic mix and views were not slavishly supportive of the editorial in the way letters to the Telegraph are.
Sport remains a weak point in The Independent and it has the feel that it is there for completeness rather than as a primary part of the newspaper. In this respect I think The Independent undervalues the importance of good sports coverage.
On the whole The Independent is a good newspaper which deserves to succeed. However to do so it needs to define its place in the market more closely and strengthen its position within this sector. The question must be can The Independent succeed in doing so and if it does is this sector large enough to sustain the Independent as a mass market broadsheet.
Recently, Tony Blair had the effrontery to carp at what he described as the fusion of comment and news by British newspapers, in effect accusing them playing free and easy with the truth. This was pretty rich, coming from someone who had done so much to elevate spin and news manipulation to their present eminence in British politics. Reflecting, though, on the antics of some of the popular press, particularly those that have bent over backwards to support him, one felt that there might be a germ of something in what he had to say, despite the identity of the person saying it. Then he singled out The Independent for particular attack, and at once it became obvious that this was yet another exercise in tendentious Blairite axe-grinding.
For The Independent has been stalwart not only in upholding a factual approach to news reporting, but in holding Blairs government to account, especially for its blundering excesses in Iraq and for its destruction of civil rights at home on the pretext of the war on terror. It has been stalwart also in its readiness to publish opinions, from its columnists and correspondents, that diverge from its editorial line. The very opposite approach, in fact, to that with which Blair tried to tar it. All of which makes me feel that its time to update this review, first written a year or so ago for publication on "another site".
Somewhere I once read that people switch their daily newspaper rather less often in their lives than they switch their bank, which in turn is less often than they switch their marriage partner.
Given that one can change one's newspaper at the drop of a word to the newsagent, whilst changing the other two involves a bit more rigmarole, that is a remarkable finding. Mind you, I can't remember where I read it. It may have been in the pages of a newspaper, which might reflect on its validity. On the whole, though, I would be more inclined to believe it if I read it in The Independent, to which I switched about two years ago, than if I read it in any other newspaper. Not that that's saying much, of course.
Prior to the switch I had been a regular reader of The Times for something like fifty years. This compares - for the record - with thirty-five years with the same bank and thirty-seven with the same wife, so I still stand a chance of conforming to the norm. Why did I read The Times? For no better reason, really, than because it was the newspaper with which I had grown up. No, I wasn't always - or even often - at ease with its politics, still less with its ownership, but it had comprehensive news, business and sports coverage, some readable columnists, a layout I knew my way around and a suitably - sometimes excessively - challenging crossword.
When The Independent was launched in 1990 I read the occasional issue with interest and saw much in the paper that appealed, but insufficiently to overcome the inertia that had set in over all those years. Until the 2005 General Election. At election times I always tend to read more than one newspaper, for balance, and I soon noticed that The Independent was much more in tune with my views on current questions of importance to me, like civil liberties, the environment and the occupation of Iraq, than was The Times.
The Guardian was also an option, but there is something a bit too old-leftie/public-sector-oriented about The Guardian to suit my taste.
You don't - or shouldn't - read a newspaper simply to agree with it, or even to have it agree with you. But some degree of agreement doesn't half help. So, post Election, I switched to The Independent and have not regretted that decision since.
First, some background facts.
The Independent is a "compact" (the euphemism for "tabloid" used at the quality end of the market) newspaper published in the UK by Independent News and Media Limited. It is not, however, quite as "independent" as it was when it was launched, having been subsequently acquired by Tony O'Reilly's Irish Independent newspaper group. It is still, though, independent in the sense of supporting no particular political party or agenda.
The Independent appears daily, six days a week; in keeping with industry practice, I am regarding The Independent on Sunday as a separate title. Cover price, Monday-Friday, is 70p. This makes it 5p more expensive than its two main rivals. The Saturday cover price is £1.40, again a touch higher than the competition.
Average circulation per issue was 245,466 in May this year (source: Audit Bureau of Circulations), making it the lowest-circulation national, some 33% behind The Guardian.
Average readership per issue among adults in the most recent period was 741,000 (source: National Readership Survey), fewer readers than for any other national except The Financial Times. For comparison, ten times as many people read The Sun each day than read The Independent.
Clearly, my new choice of daily reading is not shared by many others, but I like it anyway. Why?
Let's start, as I always do with a newspaper, at the back. In doing so, let us also try to make sense of the structure of the paper, since this does not emerge clearly from a casual glance. In fact, the main paper is in two sections, one called Extra folded inside the other, plus additional supplements Inside the inner Extra, but its often possible to read right through without clearly distinguishing them. Most issues of The Independent run to between 64 and 84 pages in the main paper, plus 16-24 for Extra, plus more again for the daily supplements and specials. Anyway, taking the main paper from the back forwards: -
** Main Paper **
* Sport *
The final 12-24 pages of the main paper are devoted to sport. Saturdays and Mondays see the highest sports paginations, as one might expect. All sports are given coverage, but the emphasis is naturally on the most popular, which suits me since I am essentially a football and cricket fan, with only a passing interest in the rest. Reporting tends to be focussed on the games themselves, with clear factual reporting of matches and relatively little off-pitch speculation and scandal-mongering. This again, suits me, as I have long since wearied of the effort some media devote to prying into players' private lives and twisting any manager's comment into a confrontational casus belli. The one element of The Independents sports coverage I dont much like is James Lawton, apparently regarded as the papers star sports columnist, though one whose writing I have never found very entertaining or enlightening.
* Business *
Moving forward, we next reach the business news, which usually occupies about 10 pages. As with most newspapers, the coverage is more financial than about business in the broader sense, since financial markets move daily and are easy to comment on, whilst broader business trends are harder to identify and interpret. This used to irritate me when I was actively engaged in business. Now I'm not, so it doesn't. As a source of daily financial info The Independent seems to me at least as good as any daily except The Financial Times, and how many of us laymen need the FT's depth of coverage?
* Obituaries *
As long as people keep dying, these are likely to go on filling a page or two. I doubt that anyone selects a paper on the basis of its obituaries. I am reminded, though, that The Independent did succumb to popular hysteria a year or so ago over the death of George Best, even leading the front page with the news, and disappointed me by doing so. A talented player with a tendency to self-destruct, his was perhaps a salutary story. But a media world in which his death is regarded as the day's most important news is one that has lost its sense of proportion. Sorry.
* Editorial and Opinion *
The core of the newspaper, usually occupying just six pages. The first of them is filled with three 'leader' articles on topical subjects, plus a cartoon. The regular cartoonist, Dave Brown, draws well enough but, in my view, lacks subtlety in his humour. The 'leaders' tend to be of a similar standard - clearly written and argued, but nothing extraordinary. They do, though, unlike those in The Times, have the merit of taking a polemic line with which I often agree - libertarian, sceptical of authority, environmentally conscious - thereby exposing me to less danger of apoplexy when reading them.
The Independent maintains a sizeable roster of columnists, on whom I shall not comment comprehensively. There are, to be honest, few I make a special point of reading regularly, as I did for instance with Matthew Parris in The Times.
Johann Hari writes engagingly enough on a range of topics, as do Matthew Norman, Deborah Orr and Yasmin Alibhai-Brown. I am not much impressed, however, by the two main political commenters, Bruce Anderson and Steve Richards; neither seems to me to have anything very special to say, nor any very special way of saying it. Dominic Lawson as often as not I disagree with, though he can be readable enough. Adrian Hamilton, despite having been a friend of mine at university, talks sense on foreign affairs. On a lighter note, Mark Steel and Miles Kington can both be offbeat and highly entertaining.
The remainder of this section is filled with Reader's Letters, opinion pieces by guest writers on their particular hobby-horses, and a page devoted to a big issue (for example, from the last two days Could an independent candidate win the US presidency? and Why are so many foreigners buying into English football? presented by a staff writer with a summary of the main points on each side of the argument.
* World *
Next in the back-to-front running order, anything up to a dozen pages, covering international news that hasn't found its way into the top stories in the opening pages.
Fewer international stories in total than may be found in one or two other papers, perhaps, but those that do find their way in are usually well-chosen. Moreover, the section is studded with features as well as news stories, very often features written on environmental topics or from an environmental viewpoint. Today, for example, straddling the centre spread of the main paper is a feature about the likely upsurge in sales of cheap cars in India and the effect that will have on carbon emissions in that country.
As we shall see later when we come to the front page, The Independent gives more attention to environmental questions than any other British national newspaper, and has done for many years, not just because the topic has recently become trendy. Even if there were no other reasons for buying it - and there are - for me at least this would be sufficient.
* Europe *
This usually comprises a couple of pages of Europe-specific items not elsewhere covered in the World section. Okay, but it would be fair to say that depth of European coverage is not the paper's greatest asset.
* Home *
Much more extensive - usually upwards of twenty pages, and enlivened with features on an eclectic range of topics scattered among the news stories. On the personality front, there is a "Five Minute Interview" with someone in the news, and an upmarket celeb gossip column called "Pandora", neither of which does much for me. I do, though, enjoy the daily sharp, sardonic political sketch by Simon Carr.
* News *
News stories are generally assigned to the Home or World sections, but occasionally up to four pages from the inside front cover onwards may be devoted to particularly salient stories if these arise, irrespective of category, often leading out of the front page headline.
Where the front page is concerned, The Independent has adopted a bold approach all of its own, in that it leads the paper with issues quite as often as with news, and that the relevant issue takes up the whole front page. Of course, the issues are often ones exemplified by a current news item. For example, today the front page is devoted to the British governments blocking of an EU charter on fundamental rights, and questioning its doing so. An excellent posture, in my view, and typical of the paper. It frequently leads the paper with reports from Iraq or with items about the environment.
You don't - or shouldn't - read a newspaper simply to agree with its front page. But it doesn't half help.
** Extra **
The light relief (and occasionally heavy relief) bit in the middle that encompasses:
- General features, on an eclectic medley of topics so various that I hesitate to try to summarise them, even by example, but the arts, both highbrow and popular, sociological, political and environmental subjects are all covered, sometimes in the form of interviews or biographies.
- Regular sub-sections, usually appearing on a regular day or days each week. On Science and Technology, for example, on Fashion and Style, on the Arts (including Reviews), and on Health. These again are professionally presented, though one is unlikely to read them unless interested in the subject. I generally read the Arts bit, except when it consists of Tracey Emin writing about herself. Plus a (to me) rather meaningless cartoon strip called As If, by Sally Ann Lasson.
- Regular columns. These include The Green Goddess Julia Stephenson on the environmental lifestyle; fashion, health, and food and drink features by various writers ; and "Sleeping Around" an autobiographical account of the topic by Catherine Townsend, which I found great fun at first but which I have to say is becoming slightly repetitive. How many ways are there in which to sleep around, after all? (Please don't feel obliged to answer this question.)
- Some regular mini-features, e.g. an odd assortment of Top Tens, such as the top ten in Men's Knitwear, Gadgets to buy this month, or Cycling Gear. Also under this general heading I'd include Virginia Ironside's Dilemmas, which is an interesting take on the Agony Aunt concept, whereby the pertinent problem is outlined one week and then responded to the next - not just by Virginia herself but by readers who have written in during the week.
- TV and Radio. The round-up of the previous night, usually amusingly written up by Thomas Sutcliffe, and the night's preview. As for the listings themselves, I can detect no sign of these being better or worse in The Independent than in other papers. One seems to have much the same stuff flung at one over the airwaves whatever one reads.
- Weather. Ditto.
- Games and puzzles. The main cryptic crossword is slightly less difficult than that in The Times, which is a relief; the 'concise' crossword is even more simplistic. The Sudoku (three puzzles daily, ranging from elementary to advanced) are okay, but rather samey - or maybe all sudokus are rather samey, and this is only just beginning to dawn on me.
* Extras *
Such is are the two main sections, but every day there are added extras, sometimes welcome, sometimes less so.
Monday brings the Media supplement, which is substantial (usually 20 pages, with very few ads - for some reason The Guardian seems to own this classified market) and interesting. The media are always at their most motivated when discussing the media. The supplements then head downhill through the middle of the week with Motoring (Tuesday), Property (Wednesday) and Education (Thursday), my copies of which go all for recycling unread. Things perk up again on Friday with the Arts and Book Review, which also covers Music, Theatre and Film. Lots of good reading to be had there.
As with most newspapers, Saturday is the big day for added extras, including: a Magazine with all the usual lifestyle stuff of such magazines, eminently dispensable in my opinion; a Travel Section, eminently enjoyable; a Money section, eminently unexceptional; and The Information, their round-up of the forthcoming week's TV, Radio and other entertainment, eminently useful. Plus the sixteen-square Saturday Sudoku keeps me occupied for at least an hour each weekend. It has, perhaps, less additional weight of newsprint on a Saturday than its main competitors - but with The Times I always found it annoying to be throwing so much paper out unread.
Apart from those regular supplements, The Independent is strong on occasional extras. Many have been concerned with the environment. The two parts each of 'Your Planet and How You Can Save it' and of 'Disappearing World' are still among the reading matter available to visitors to the loo at my house! There have also been poster-sized environmental maps. Other extras, informed and informative even to someone who takes a close interest in the matter, have dealt with Iraq. Superb stuff, which I don't believe we would have had from any other British newspaper.
So, two years since the big switch, was it all worthwhile and, more specifically, worth the extra 5p a day?
Looking at the detailed description and analysis above, it's hard to justify in simple value-for-money terms. To be honest, I don't think The Independent is a great daily newspaper. It's very good, but not great; but then, I don't think any of its rivals is great either. In fact, the more I see of the rivals these days, the less I think of them. And when I see The Times, I wonder how I managed to stomach it for so long.
It's readable and well put together, and now I am accustomed to it, quite as easy as The Times to find my way around. I am glad of its non-partisan independence of attitude, and I am glad I am no longer contributing to the Murdoch coffers every morning.
Above all, though, I am glad I am supporting a newspaper that hates what the current British government is doing in Iraq and in its destruction of our rights as citizens, hates what we are all doing to the delicate natural balance of the world we live in, and which is not afraid to say so.
And if its managed to rile Tony Blair, so much the better. As a splendid article about Blair by John Gray in todays issue of The Independent says: Its not so much that Blair is economical with the truth as that he lacks the normal understanding of it. For him, truth is whatever serves the cause. I am thankful that there is still a newspaper around with the guts, insight and eloquence to say such things.
© duncantorr, first published in its original version under the name torr on Ciao UK, December 2005
Apart from the printed paper, an online version can be found at www.independent.co.uk.
I find it absurd to hear people proclaim the wonderfully unbiased reporting of this newspaper, how it highlights the fact that the British media are not pawns of the corporations like our ignorant friends in the United States and other countries not blessed with a free press.
The Independent is responsible for an absolutly terrible journalism. I can use the Iraq war as a perfect example of their ostensibly unbiased view of things, which as with the BBC, is a facade, which the majority of the british public have bought.
The have failed the make any mention of the war crimes commited by the 'allies', the chemical attacks on civilians in Fallujah, assaults which under a world not controlled by lies, would have landed Bush in a war crimes tribunal.
The Independent claims to not be swayed by corporate interests, I find this an absurd notion, firstly judging by thier almost total distorion of the truth in favour of the corporate intertests, and also, by the simple fact, the the Independent IS a corporate interest, where unlimted profit, and not honest journalism is the driving force.
People hate to hear that thier beloved British media is in fact just as controlled an biased as the Americans, and by no means the most honest in the world.
The independent is a sack of lies, and anyone who reads it, and believes it, its a sheep. Not just the Independent, all British mainstream journalism. Do not expect the truth from what you read, stop buying newspapers like this and try to use what little brain you have remaining to penetrate to the truth of the matter.
The UK and US are evil, a much much bigger threat than Iraq Or Iran, it is all run by greed, the truth is in accesible.
Broadly speaking newspapers around the world tend to reflect the political stances of theirs owners, editors and their core readership. In many countries this is perfectly understood and accepted. In the UK we have always had a feeling that in some ways serious newspapers should be above politics and that a balanced representation of the factual content of a story is paramount. Of course this is rubbish and although many of us would like to believe that the paper we regularly read is the one that gives us a fair and balanced appraisal of the news in fact all it does is gives us an appraisal that we tend to agree with. When the ‘Independent’ was launched it had the lofty ideal of trying to be a publication free of political manipulation from its owners and thus be able to reflect a more even handed and fair-minded view of the news. The British daily broadsheets are on the whole right of centre with the ‘The Telegraph’ at one end of the spectrum usually being a mouthpiece for the conservative party, ‘The Times’ being slightly left of the Telegraph but still right of centre and only ‘The Guardian’ representing a leftist outlook although it can hardly be considered left wing. On the face of it a politically neutral newspaper could find a niche for itself in the market place except of course it would need to find politically neutral readers to buy it! So 15 years on has the ‘Independent’ lived up to it’s original intentions and how does it compare to the other broadsheets? GENERAL LOOK At first glance the Indie looks the same as the other broadsheets. It has a large page format and the front page is usually divided in to three main sections. At the top just below the titles is a banner highlighting mains stories in the various pullout sections of the paper. Below this we come to the headline story sometimes accompanied by a large spread photograph or sometimes the pho
tograph is highlighting a separate story that is further detailed inside. Two or three other main stories are also featured on the rest of the front page. At the very bottom of the front page there is a short index and then a section highlighting other main stories from the main part of the newspaper. MAIN NEWS As you open up the paper you are faces with 4-5 pages of main news. This can be any story from home or abroad, which is deemed to be important enough to the readership. The ‘Independent’ more than any other broadsheet does attempt to give a good coverage to foreign news in the main news section as opposed to just home based stories. The reporting is always of a high standard and a fair amount of detail is gone into. You always get the impression that each of the journalists covering the story had done their research well. In recent editions the coverage of the ‘Bloody Sunday’ enquiry and the ‘Bali Bombing’ have been excellent and as you might expect with this newspaper a fairly neutral tone is adopted in the reporting. HOME NEWS This is the biggest section in the paper and covers a wide variety of subjects from a UK aspect. I’ve found recently that a trend has appeared to cover more lightweight stories in this section, very often amongst the updates on serious crime police enquiries you will get an item tied in to some aspect of popular culture be it Eastenders or Pop Idols. The coverage of science based stories, which are of special interest to me is on the whole rather scarce (although more science related stories can be found in the pullout section) but the stories themselves are presented well and in a language so as to make it accessible to anyone with an interest in the subject. I don’t think the ‘Independent’ compares badly with the other broadsheets in this regard. A sub- section on ‘Parliament and Politics’ is also included here, whi
ch although usually short does have a slightly more detailed analysis of a current topic. EUROPEAN NEWS We come now to the section, which most broadsheets tend to ignore. Even the ‘Independent’ doesn’t have a great coverage of European news but I think the overall stance of the paper is pro-European (not in a political euro referendum sense) in as much as the commentator realise that whether we like it or not our immediate future lies with Europe and thus is to our advantage to know what is going on there. It is also refreshing to see in the coverage of these stories that they do not solely concentrate on negative aspect of European politics and culture unlike ‘The Telegraph’ or the ‘Daily Mail’ but that in general terms the tone of the stories is again neutral. WORLD NEWS This is where the Independent scores well against the other broadsheets. They do seem to have a clear commitment to look at news in global context. They have a very useful column titled ‘World in Brief’, which gives a thumbnail description of some stories from around the world and follows this up with more in depth coverage of other foreign based reports very often from traditionally underreported locations such as Africa and the Far East. Recent editions have features a very good set of stories from the Middle East specifically covering the continuing troubles in Israel and Palestine. ANALYSIS This one page spread gives the opportunity for the paper to highlight a particular news topic and cover it in more detail than would normally be expected. The choice of story is arbitrary and in the past a variety of subjects have been covered from proposed changes in the drug laws to changes in the electoral system. In a recent edition a very well written and clearly presented article was written about the proposed changes in the law to do with animal welfare. This story, which had re
ceived scant attention from some other quarters, was eloquently dealt with and in the true ‘Indie’ tradition comparisons were made with the legal situations in other countries around the world to add a global perspective to the story. EDITORIAL AND OPINION This is the part of any paper, which most clearly illustrated what stance the paper is taking on general issues. It is the section of the ‘Telegraph’ (that I infrequently read but never buy) that makes me shout in anger and disbelief. In the case of the ‘Independent’ I find that they try and tow a pretty straight middle line to such an extent that it does sometimes come across as being somewhat bland and overly Lib Dem’ish. I do enjoy Mark Steel’s off beat column and I respect, if not always agree with, Donald Macintyre’s views on a variety of topics. There was a very good piece recently by David Baddiel pointing out that while we may think that racism in football has been largely eliminated in this country, a lot (especially anti-Semitic feelings- not usually considered) still exists. The letters page (actually a sub-section of the opinions pages) is worth reading and often includes elegant commentary of news items, which would not be out of place in the celebrated ‘Times’ letter page. BUSINESS This section is the one I pay least attention to. I hardly ever get past the summarised analysis of the world markets, the currency rates and the tourist exchange rates all of which is presented which clear graphs easy for non business minded people to understand. The rest of the section is a fairly standard fare of the current business news stories. A more global perspective can again be seen and on the infrequent occasion when I have been tempted to carefully read any of the items I have found that the subject has been reported clearly and for non-experts. Maybe a regular ‘Financial Times
8217; reader would find it a bit lacking in detail and in depth analysis. SPORT This is the weakest section of the paper. The spread of sports covered is minimal and tends to concentrate on Football in the winter and Cricket in the summer apart from any special events like the Olympics, World Cup etc. On Mondays there is a separate broadsheet pullout section covering sport in order to give better coverage to the weekend sports events. Despite this even within the major topics such as football there is a limited depth to the coverage, not straying far beyond match reports. The Premiership is concentrated on but the lower divisions hardly get mentioned. There is also only very minimal reporting of other European leagues. Earlier this year I thought their coverage of Wimbledon this year was poor compared to ‘The Times’ and ‘The Telegraph’. The ‘Independent’ does employ some good journalists the likes of James Lawton and Steve Tongue but you get the feeling that sport coverage in general is not a priority for the paper. PULL OUT SECTIONS The papers seem to bombard us with pull out sections these days. I remember when the Sundays’ where the only ones to do this and I liked the idea of a weekly Broadsheet that was self contained with all you needed for a good informative read in the main pages. That all changed and the ‘Independent’ changed with the times. In every weekly edition you will find a Review section along with a separate section different for each day of the week covering Jobs, Property etc. The review section is a delight and one of the main reasons I buy the paper. It is a tabloid size pullout covering (on various days) Health matters, Science and Nature, PC and Web related technology, Travel and daily sections on the Arts, TV listings/reviews and weather outlook. There is a very witty daily column by Miles Kingston giving us a funny slanted look at some aspe
ct of the news. The cover story usually relates to a detailed interview of an arts related personality by the likes of Deborah Ross or Charlotte O’Sullivan. The interviews are mostly quite revealing but not reverential about their subjects. Regular features also include the light-hearted view of the world by John Walsh’s ‘Tales of the City’, John Lichfield ‘Our Man In…’and E Jane Dickson’s ‘Staying Afloat’ a humorous piece on some aspect of family life. There is also a regular ‘Ten Of The Best’ feature written by an expert in a particular subject, recently covered have been such diverse lists as Mountain Bikes, Natural Beauty products, Sausages and Museums. Simon Calder is also here to advise us weekly of the best holiday deals. The Arts section gives a brief overview of current arts events including a list of best films on release and best plays in the theatre. Listings of major events, from Pop/Jazz, Exhibitions etc. Tom Sutcliffe’s ‘Last night’s Television Column is also a must for TV junkies like myself. There is also a summarised Radio Guide and TV listings for terrestrial channels only. Finally the concise crossword is easy enough for me to do, most days! All the sections of the main paper and pull outs, feature some wonderful photographs often viewing an event from a different angle to the other publications OVERALL The Independent is not a bad paper. I don’t always buy it I tend to prefer ‘The Guardian’ for political coverage and if I can get hold of a copy without buying, ‘The Telegraph’ for sports coverage but as a sort of ‘Jack of All Trades’ the Independent is worth a look at. The sales of the paper have not taken off as at first predicted and with fierce competition form the other Broadsheets the ‘Indie’ seems to have settled for a readership of around 3
00,000 which makes it the least popular of the national broadsheets. Part of the reason for this is the very nature of the paper’s ‘independent’ stance, which can make so0me of the coverage seem bland and uncommitted. In the end people like to buy papers that agree with their own point of view and not a paper that does not a paper that effectively prides itself in not having a point of view. The Independent can be bought Mon-Fri for 55p. At weekends a special edition Saturday Independent and Sunday Independent are produced. It is published by Independent News and Media Ltd. 191 Marsh Wall, London E14 9RS Back issues are available form Historic newspapers 01988 40221 Further information can be found at www.independent.co.uk Thank you for reading and rating this opinion © Mauri 2002
I love reading a broadsheet. That Saturday morning feeling - sitting in the dining room, cat on lap, croissants and orange juice on the table, partner at work (OK I have a cruel streak, but there is something really good, when you have the day off, and your other half is slaving away), and the Independent to read. Bliss. I started reading the Independent some 15 years ago. The Guardian was going through a rough patch, and the self congratulatory superior snobbery, and right wing bias of the Telegraph and Times turns me right off. So it was good to have a choice - the Indie had recently been started, as a brave and underfinanced venture by a team of experienced newsmen. Sadly, in the late 1980's, it lost its much vaunted Independence, when Robert Maxwell bought half of it, but fortunatly Cpt Bob went on his 200 mile early morning swim, before he could change the editorial. It is now wholly owned by the Irish Independent group, it's finances apparently secure. The daily Independent is 50p Monday - Friday, a rather hefty £1 on Saturdays, and £1.20 on Sunday. Monday - Friday has a news sheet and review, and for sport haters, a handy additional sport supplement that you can read, or throw away without having to thumb through its pages. On wednesday, there is a business section. The Saturday Independent is my favourite with its magazine, and excellent travel section, editted by that most excellent of travel journalists, Simon Calder. The saturday edition also contains a listings magazine, which suprisingly for the London-centric Indie, contains a special edition for us culturally impoverished Northerners! The Sunday edition, is a comparitive light weight when compared to that great tree trasher, The Sunday Times, but is more manageable with a review and culture section. The Independents Strengths. The Travel section with its good practical advise, and a
ffordable options - for example, rather than to pay a fortune flying to Corsica, Calder suggests you "Easy Jet" to Nice, and hop on a ferry! The Foreign News - I often find that the Indie has beaten the BbC in reporting foreign news - quite an achievement for the printed word to be quicker than the immediate media of television. I especially enjoy the supplementary artiles the Indie provide, so you can appreciate the cultural or historical issues of a current event. The Photography - second to none here - the Independent is not afraid to prominently display a stunning photo of a minor newsworthy event on its front page. It also has a knack of getting senior politicians to walk infront of posters saying "Looney" or some such comment! The Columnists - No publicity seeking media harpies here! Any paper WITHOUT Birchill, Self, Bushell et al, gets my vote. Instead we are treated to reasoned argument, or light humour from the likes of David Aaronivitch, Howard Jacobson, and Yasmin Murgul. So, am I fan of The Independent? Yes, indeed my friends seem to associate me with the paper. For my 30th birthday, an artist friend, drew me in a cartoon,as a 60 year old. I am there with geritric cat, and yes an Independent in my hand. Later that year (1995), my brother in law produced our wedding invitations, and produced a line drawing of my bride to be and I, with our cats, and, yet again, my beloved Indie in my hand. I really must get out more!!
The Independant is a high quality daily broadsheet priced at 45 pence and I find it is a balanced and informative newspaper. The paper covers international,national and regional issues in consideable depth and strikes me as being impartial. It is never strident and does not appear to have a strong political bias.When I was a student I referred to this daily quite regularly and found many of its articles to be of a high standard and very informative. The standard of writing on this broadsheet is high and I particularly rate its international and national coverage. It also gives considerable editorial coverage to sports and its coverage of financial and business topics is also good. It seems to have few typographical errors and technically is a good publication. It is,however,in a competitive segment of the market with its main competitors being The Times, the Telegraph and the Guardian.I dont know its current circulation figures but I do understand that it lags behind its longer established competitors. Summing up I find the Independant to be a good daily broadsheet and the standard of journalism is good. Certainly it is a paper well worth looking at and it is recommended by me Thanks very much for reading and rating this review
I like the Independant ,because I know I am going to get a fair account of the facts. With all the current happenings in the world,it is very important to get accurate reporting . Im not saying that the other newspapers dont give the news as they see it ,but the independant is concise and straight to the piont. The front page has the current world news ,and other pages have the more in depth accounts. So you dont have to search to find what you are looking for . The most important stories are on the front page ,then there is a little box telling you what othe subjects are inside ,and the reporters name . So the actual size of the paper is smaller than most ,aand I like their tidy lay-out, so for people that havnt a lot of time and energy its the best newspaper. The Independant of the 17th of October ,had seven whose pages that dealt with : War on Terrorism . I dont agree with everything that is written in any newspaper ,but if you get full facts you can draw your own conclusions ,I think the Independant tries to show both sides of an issue, so for that reason it is my favorite newspaper.
I've been reading the Indie for about ten years now, and am still convinced its the best broadsheet on the market, despite all its various ownership changes. The reason for this has to be its coverage of news, it is so very unique. If one looks at the front page of the broadsheets, the Independent often has totally different stories, usually some new report, or some news from somewhere in the world. This is what makes it so special. The reporters on the paper are also excellent, with totally unbiased coverage of evevts. This is probably because they still retain their independence, despite the changes. Although it has seen some changes in editorial staff over the years, this is only normal, and it really is not that noticeable. It has a great second section too, consisting of a fascinating letters and comment page, and then a features page, with articles by Deborah Orr, Thomas Sutcliffe, David Aaronavitch, Andreas Whittam Smith, amongst others. Each day of the week, it has either a network, law, theatre, media day, where part of the paper is specifically about that subject. Its Arts Section also remains superb, with interesting interviews and reviews. Friday and Wednesday are the best days for Arts, but there is something every day. The Indie also has one of the best websites i've seen, easily navigable, interesting, just a lovely place to surf to! One of the best things, apart obviously from its writing, is its stance on the royal family; basically it has no time for it, which i admire greatly. Stories often end up just being a small paragraph on one of the latter pages, if at all. Brilliant. So, even though other broadsheets appeal individually for specific things, overall and consistently, the Independent remains the best. Well worth reading for those not initiated yet.
I've been buying the Indie since the second issue (I couldn't get the first) and have been hooked ever since. I'd tried others: The Times was owned by Murdoch about whom I am unable to express an opinion as it would get me banned from this site; the Guardian was just toooo agit prop and The Telegraph's only real redeeming feature was its easy crossword. I was in paper stasis; no-one could satisfy me and then along came Andreas Whittam-Smith and his band of renegades. Paper heaven!! Its mission was simple - it wouldn't subscribe to the lobby briefing so wouldn't react to spin, it wouldn't have an owner so wouldn't be subject to the proprietor's current business requirements ( a la Murdoch and China) and to all intents and purposes the royals just lived in a big house in London and as such were no more newsworthy than thee or me. From the outset it provided serious thought provoking comment and sensational photographs, often turning the lens round to view the hacks rather than the subject. Trouble is, you can't always keep the dream going as high ideals don't appeal to everyone. The hoi-polloi don't want insight, they want to see through windows, so it just did not get the mass appeal. Low circulation, nearly always below 400k in the early years, now nearer 250k meant it couldn't attract the advertisers either so it was continually on the skids financially. The Mirror Group took a controlling interest and was able to provide it with printing facilities ( it had been wired down to regional presses before) but stated that its independence would be maintained. Then Maxwell happened. The paper finally became part of the Irish Independent Group in the mid 90s and has attained a relatively steady plateau. It's current output is a brave mixture of republican and social democrat, ostensibly pro-europe but I've always had the feeling that if a major left of centre figure stood up and said bomb France, the
y would back him to the hilt! The letters are often hilarious viz a recent one wishing to know who, out of Dubya or Jiang, had the biggest penis and the sports coverage is excellent . They do have a habit of losing features or journalists just as they become established. "Alex " started in the Indie then ended up in the Telegraph; I always wonder whether their readership got the joke. Likewise Bridget Jones although it could be said that she had done enough when she went. It still has excellent feature writers in Deborah Orr (Mrs Will Self , who also writes interviews for the mag), David Aaranovitch and Thomas Sutcliffe amongst others and the pics are still brilliant. As far as I'm concerned, it's the most thought provoking, annoying and interesting read out there and I'll continue to take it as long as it stays true to its ideals.
I've ben reading The Independent for a good few years now, and I'm impressed by the way it has remained independent in terms of its objectivity in reporting and leader writing. It has all the quality you'd expect in a leading newspaper, with excellent coverage of home and world news, arts and culture, sport, and general articles of interest. But what makes it stand out in my view is the continuing excellence of its photography - it not only has well-taken news photos, but will invariably show several prints of high artistic quality which are a treat to look at (for those who regularly read this paper, one splendid example was a shot of a sailing galleon moored in, I believe, Barcelona harbour). This theme is admirably continued in the magazine of the weekend paper, with all the benefit of colour. If I have one slight moan, it's the lack of a decent cartoon strip - can't have everything, I suppose.
The Independent has been around for over a decade and is now well established as a good newspaper that caters for the more business typed person but does not go as far as the Financial Times. Unlike the tabloid newspapers there is a lot of news in the paper every day and no dodgey or scandal rubbish that pack the pages of other papers. The Independent is full of important and interesting issues from all aspects of today's society and also challenges convential thinking with some clever writers. There are sufficient features and games to keep you occupied at periods of severe boredom and at the weekend it just gets better with a comprehensive sports section and a set of good supplements (some of these have got too thin though and are not worth having)including the excellent 'The Information' magazine. The price is good and there are not too many adverts to fill up the pages. Overall it is a good news papper and does well in my opinion because it doesn't swing to either political party in particular. It is a good newspaper for people who need to know the facts about what is going on and want to make their own opinions up about issues.
I have been reading the independent for about 1 year now, i initially chose it because my friend recommended it as an intelligent newspaper with unbiased reporting. I started getting it 6 days a week (the saturday paper is enough for two days reading). Each day it comes with the main paper and a review section, with a sport section on mondays and the usual weekend sections on saturday. It costs 45p on weekdays and £1 on saturdays which is reasonable. The main section provides well balanced and well written reporting of local, national and world events. The paper is normally reliable on the major facts, and rarely has a noticeable bias, instead providing both sides of the article and leaving readers to come to their own conclusions. (You'll find no hate campaigns here!) The seperate review section means that the editorial opinions are clearly defined from the reporting unlike many newspapers i can think of. It also provides a forum for some very interesting articles that are not on daily news. The paper's general bias is just slightly left wing, but predominately as the name suggests independent. The sports pages are suprisingly good for a broadsheet, and provide good write-ups on football, rugby, tennis and cricket matches. Due to the papers broadsheet format, i would not recommend this paper to anyone who wants to read on the train, unless you plan to really annoy the people next to you. Apart from this however the paper is an excellant choice of a daily read.
The Independent is a fantastic newspaper and, along with the Guardian, is my newspaper of choice. In my opinion, it is strongest in its coverage of international news and often provides information and opinion rarely found elsewhere. I am particularly enthusiastic about the writing of Robert Fisk, the newspaper's Middle East correspondant, who never shirks from telling the truth even when this may make him unpopular. One thing which I feel lets the Independent down is the format of its second section, which is not as easy to read as its tabloid-size counterparts at the Times and the Guardian. It also does not contain the same number of job adverts as the specialist sections in the Guardian, which is a shame. However, its 'The Information' listings guide on Saturdays is superb - easily the best around. Finally, I would also highly recommend the website www.independent.co.uk All in all, a first-class paper.