Monday, May 18, 2009

The Independent: floundering but not out

It's no secret that the most left leaning mass circulation paper in the country has been in financial trouble for some time. It seems like they have a temporary reprieve from sale or receivership, which is good news, but they are not out of the woods yet.

Good journalism costs money and the Independent has been losing ground because it simply doesn't have the funds to be an A grade news source, even though its comment pages and general campaigning orientation are second to none.

I do feel loyal to the Independent as the only paper to take a firm stance on the Iraq War right from the beginning but even I can't justify buying it everyday. It just doesn't have the ability to cover the news properly and you can't survive on a diet of opinion, opinion and more opinion.

Personally, I think it would be a disaster if the Independent were to go under but if it can't sustain itself then what options are there?

It's worth remembering that the Sun was a left wing Labour supporting daily, the Daily Herald, before its sale and re branding in 1964 so there is no guarantee that if the paper is bailed out it would retain any of the old ethos. Just look at the Evening Standard who, under new ownership, are understandably trying to distance themselves from their divisive past behaviour.

The recession has hit newspapers particularly hard as they rely on advertising to survive and the Independent is not the only struggling publication. Local papers are fighting for their lives and as they tighten their belts they rely more and more on reprinting press releases as they just don't have the capacity to do consistent and thorough journalism on a shoestring.

For what it's worth I wish the Independent the best of luck getting through the current crisis and, if it is able to get back on its feet, I hope they're able to invest a little more in reporting the news to build on the excellent work they've produced over the last few years on limited resources.

1 comment:

DarrenJ said...

The comment about the Sun and the Daily Herald made me smile. My Nana was a diehard Labour supporter but she bought the Sun and was adamant that the Sun was a Labour paper (even all the way through the Miners' strike and the poll tax) because the Sun took over from the Herald and the Herald was a Labour paper so the Sun must be a Labour paper....