Independent editor writes to 'treasured' print readers

Independent Image copyright ADRIAN DENNIS

The decision to cease print editions of the Independent "must have come as a shock" to readers, its editor has said.

Writing a letter in the paper to its "treasured" print readers, Amol Rajan acknowledged it was "little comfort" to some the paper will continue online.

"Like me you love the rustle and whiff of the paper, the thud on the doormat when it arrives, and the serendipity of each edition," he wrote.

On Friday, owners ESI Media announced the paper would stop printing in March.

Rajan wrote that to "treasured members of our special club the notion of us focusing on digital doesn't appeal so much". He added it was "very hard" to explain the decision but it was the "least you deserve".

"The simple fact is, there just aren't enough people who are prepared to pay for printed news," he wrote.

Independent to cease as print edition

Image caption Amol Rajan said the paper was now read by millions of people online

ESI announced on Friday it would be making "some editorial redundancies" and that the last print edition of the Independent would be published on Saturday 26 March, while the last Independent on Sunday would be on 20 March.

It also confirmed it would sell its sister title, i newspaper, to the Johnston Press publishing group, for an expected £24m, subject to approval from Johnston's shareholders.

Rajan said money from this sale would be invested in the paper's digital move, adding that many of the paper's writers would continue to write "the same amount of journalism" for the publication's website.

Image copyright PA
Image caption The first edition of the Independent was in October 1986

The Independent was set up in 1986, and at its peak in 1989 had a circulation of more than 400,000 copies, but December's figures showed it was selling closer to 28,000.

Rajan said because circulation and advertising were "very substantially" down the future of the print edition "would inevitably be one of managing decline".

He said the paper was read by "millions every day" but these people were doing so through mobile phones and digital networks.

Rajan added that the "multimillion pound investment" from the paper's owners, the Lebedev family, would be used to launch a worldwide bureaux and a new subscription mobile app.

Russian billionaire Alexander Lebedev took control of the loss-making newspapers in 2010 when he bought Independent News for Media for £1.

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