The Independent owes its inception in 1986 to Andreas Whittam Smith, Matthew Symonds, and Stephen Glover, all former staff members of London’s The Daily Telegraph. The paper's slogan, "It is. Are you?" encapsulates the mission of a newspaper independent of political allegiance.
The Independent’s first owner was Newspaper Publishing PLC. By 1998, ownership shifted hands when Independent News and Media PLC (INM) took the helm. In 1995, the Mirror Group Newspapers assumed control until Russian businessman Alexander Lebedev purchased the paper in 2010. His son Evgeny is now at the helm.
The Independent's strong stance on social and political issues has resonated deeply with its readers. Advocating for humane treatment of refugees, challenging the 2003 American and British-led invasion of Iraq, and raising its voice on world geopolitical matters demonstrates the paper’s advocacy for change. It also played a pivotal role against Brexit, leading its readers in marches and discussions. Climate change is another important issue to the writers of The Independent,
In a 2007 speech, prime minister Tony Blair cited The Independent as representative of the "feral beast" of British press, a metaphor for the breakdown in public trust in its institutions. The Independent’s editor defended the paper, saying, “that was why it is called The Independent.” The Independent supports diverse opinions through its comment section, "Voices”, and encourages readers to interact with the content.
The Independent on Sunday, a sister publication, follows a centrist stance without political affiliation.
After experiencing a steady decline in print circulation, The Independent transitioned to a fully digital format in 2016.
Beyond the shores of the UK, The Independent has embraced the international stage with publications like Independent en Español, Independent Arabia, Independent Turkish, Independent Persian, Independent Urdu. These international editions bridge geographical gaps, bringing a piece of The Independent's ethos to readers worldwide.
The paper is notable for several innovations such as being the first British newspaper to introduce a Saturday magazine and the first to elevate photography to the level of news and feature stories. The Independent was also first to launch an edition designed for children.
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