The Independent and the digital revolution

Last night I went to a London Press Club event at The Independent to hear from their Digital Editor, Christian Broughton.

This subject intrigues me as my opinion on newspapers turning digital-only has recently changed. I used to be a self-confessed luddite, buying a Guardian every Saturday, a gesture to help keep the traditional media industry alive. Even though I knew these articles were available online already, this was my stubborn act of loyalty. I also had a nostalgic, sensory connection with with this routine; I loved the smell of the ink and that lovely crumpling sound of the paper and I would proudly stand over the spread of all the supplements over my bed laid ready for me to dissect and digest.

However, recently I’ve stopped buying newspapers. One of the reasons (an obvious one) is the environment, and the other is I simply have less time. I have become one of those flickering eyed, hungry readers who jumps from story to story, and will abandon an article if it doesn’t grab my attention within the first two sentences. The nature of this new way of reading means the Guardian online is an easier way to be selective of the content I read; the most important – or most read – articles are presented first on the page.

According to Broughton, they closed the Independent for survival, and for love. The team behind the decision needed to ensure it would still exist in 30 years time. And it seems to be working as revenue is up 50% year on year, which Broughton claims is a result of now concentrating their efforts on one thing: the website. Broughton also talked about his opinions on advertising – he claims there are other more clever and less aggressive ways to make money – and his admiration for modern media (turns out he’s a huge fan of VICE).

Broughton urges us to realise the digital age is here and The Independent’s controversial decision simply meant staying ahead of the game, not admitting defeat.

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