London-based publication The Independent has surprised many observers by announcing that it will expand its operations to America, just months after shutting down its print edition.

As Politico reports, The Independent’s eight-journalist newsroom in New York will soon be joined  by a news editor and specialist finance, technology, culture and science reporters. The Independent’s head of audience development is already there to help facilitate the expansion.

The Independent’s start to online-only life has been solid — the publication’s London-based editor, Christian Broughton, says the publication’s traffic figures show a 31% increase in traffic in the year leading up to April, with 63 million unique users per month. Some 18 million of those are from the US, however, leaving The Independent some distance behind other UK-owned news sites with US offices, such as The Guardian (which some observers say hasn’t exactly flourished) and Mail Online. Further, the article reports the move worries many former Independent journalists, who fear the scramble for clicks will exacerbate what they see as slide in editorial quality that will leave the site, as one former staff member says, as “Mail Online for left-wing students.”

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