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Member Name: polydeuces
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.