The Independent is part of the Independent News & Media group owned by the Irish businessman Tony O’Reilly (the former Rugby Union player and lead shareholder of Waterford Wedgwood). It is printed Monday-Saturday in the compact (tabloid) format and has an average daily circulation of 200,242 as of December 2008. The Independent generally sympathises with the centre-left politically, although traditionally it has no affiliation with any political party. Although, The Independent tends to take a classic liberal stance on economic issues. You can discover original copies of the Independent from the date of your choice by exploring the Independent archive.

History of the Independent

The Independent was founded on 7th October 1986 and is the UK’s youngest national daily newspaper. It was printed by Newspaper Publishing Ltd and created by three former journalists of the Daily Telegraph – Andreas Whittam Smith, Stephen Glover and Matthew Symonds. Andreas Whittam Smith was the first editor of the newspaper from 1986-1994 and in his first editorial he announced- “Above all, The Independent exists because of a shared belief on the part of its investors and the people who work for it that the readers of quality newspapers are not well served and that journalism of the highest standard cannot easily flourish when impeded by union restrictive practices or by the political prejudices of the typical newspaper proprietor.” The paper was created when newspaper publishing was undergoing significant change. Production costs were reduced and at the time it was claimed this would create more openings for competition. 

The Independent colour magazine was first provided with the newspaper on Saturday 10th September 1988, together with the new Weekend review newspaper section.

By the mid 1990’s both Tony O’Reilly’s group and Mirror Group Newspapers had developed substantial interests in the Independent’s parent company Newspaper Publishing. In March 1995, the company was restructured with Independent News & Media owning 43% of the shares and Mirror Group Newspapers a further 43% of the shareholding. Further refinancing followed and on 11th March 1998, Tony O’Reilly purchased a further 54% of the shares to obtain ownership of the newspaper. The paper took a strong editorial position in regard to UK and US foreign policy and the War on Terrorism following 9/11. It has also greatly supported electoral reform, campaigned against the restriction of mass immigration to the UK, and taken a strong position on environmental issues. 

The Independent was originally a broadsheet newspaper. On 30th September 2003, The Independent started a revolution in the newspaper industry when it introduced a compact (tabloid) edition of the paper- printed in addition to the broadsheet edition of the paper, providing readers with a choice of format. The tabloid edition was intended to be more ‘compact’ to differentiate it from the sensationalist reporting style of the UK tabloid newspapers. The last broadsheet edition of The Independent was printed on 14th May 2004 and the newspaper is now printed in compact format only. Other newspapers have since followed The Independent’s lead with the Times switching to compact format only and The Guardian changing to a mid-size format.


the independent original newspaper archive

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The Independent on Sunday

The Independent on Sunday is the The Independent’s sister paper, which is printed in the compact (tabloid) format. The Independent on Sunday generally sympathises with the centre-left politically, although traditionally it has no affiliation with any political party. It was founded in 1990 and was originally printed in broadsheet format before changing to compact (tabloid) in 2005. The newspaper was re-launched in 2007 and in common with a number of Sunday newspapers, it developed a number of regular supplements. For the first time in its 18 year history, the newspaper switched to full colour production in 2008. We have many Sunday Independent back issues available, dating back to when the newspaper first began publishing!


The Independent launched “Extra”, a second features section (Monday-Friday) on 25th April 2006. On 23rd September 2008 the main newspaper became full colour and the Extra supplement was renamed “Independent Life Supplement”. There is also a separate Sports section on a Monday and an Arts & Books section on a Friday. The Saturday edition of the paper currently includes The Independent colour magazine, the Information (TV & listings) magazine and a Sport newspaper section.

On 25th March 2010, Independent Print Limited (a company owned by the Lebedev family) agreed to acquire the Independent newspaper from Independent News & Media. The transaction is expected to be completed in May. Mr Alexander Lebedev will be a board director and his son Evgeny Lebedev will be Chairman of the news company- Evgeny Lebedev is currently Chairman of the London Evening Standard, which is also owned by the Lebedev family.

Sections of The Independent included a Monday Sport pull-out section which reported all the sporting events from the previous weekend, as well as a Saturday Sport pull-out section providing sport information for that weekend. The Independent also contained a traveller section containing travel articles and advertisements, and feature magazine focusing on food, interior and fashion. From March 2016, The Independent became purely an online newspaper, with its last paper issue being published on Saturday 26 March 2016.

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