Jan 20, 2014

Fleet Street is gone, who’ll be left in the British press?

The death knell must surely ring out for the UK Independent before too long. But with some British papers still apparently in alright health, can newspapers survive after all?

Guy Rundle — Correspondent-at-large

Guy Rundle


Independent for sale”, the headlines in the media section say, so it must be a Monday. The near-30-year-old newspaper is the Rasputin of British dailies, having survived almost everything thrown at it. It has been owned by its journalists, by Tony O’Reilly, and latterly by the Lebedevs, the former KGB agent and son turned London-grad billionaire. It has seen its fortunes go from the high-point of its founding — when, as a centrist newspaper in the ideologically charged Thatcher years, it scored a circulation of 300,000, refugees from partisan dailies — to its current low, wherein it sells less than 50,000 copies a day, in a country of 60 million people.

In that time it has been a wilfully serious broadsheet — according royal births, marriages and divorces, etc, no more than a column seven paragraph — to an uber-designed high-image daily, specialising in striking front-cover photos, to a slightly Dada “campaignper” picking out non-newsy issues to run with. (“What, be like the Independent and put a photo of a rabbit on the cover and the word ‘suffering’? That’s cheating!” in the immortal words of The Thick of It). Then it was a “viewspaper”, collecting together more opinionation than anyone could want in one place, and for a while it seemed to be wandering rudderless with no character at all.

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Leave a comment

5 thoughts on “Fleet Street is gone, who’ll be left in the British press?

  1. Mr Tank

    John McTernan the Ed Wood Jnr of Labour spin doctors! Ha ha ha ha ha! Nice.

  2. Peter Evans

    Which paper has the best sport section?

  3. AR

    How does one ‘outcrazy” Dungpole & Bonehead O’Nihil? Do tell.

  4. AR

    a colonel “shot twice by his own men in the Falklands before reviving the Martian canals hypothesis”… please give a link, I’ve just finished rereading LofR and could do with some light relief.
    And why wouldn’t a cancer cure affect house prices? The malingerers have to be foddered somewhere.

  5. JamesH

    It’s about time someone revived the Martian canals hypothesis.

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