A packed London Press Club audience was this week given a first-hand glimpse of the dramatic story of how The Independent has become a digital success.
Christian Broughton, editor of The Independent, spoke of his pride that the legacy of quality, non-aligned journalism was thriving in the digital world.
The Independent editor, Christian Broughton
Broughton told the latest Press Club meet-the-editors Q&A evening that The Independent’s year-on-year increase of 45 per cent in traffic was “hugely encouraging”. He said that the title – which went digital in March with the closure of the print edition – was making a profit.
Advertising was healthy, he said, and the company was always keen to investigate new ‘transactional’ sources of revenue. In answer to a question, he said it was understandable that ways of dealing with ad blocking should be examined.
“People should understand that good journalism doesn’t come free – and if that means seeing an advert or two, it’s a price worth paying,” said Broughton, 39, who has steered The Independent to more than 70m ‘unique browsers’ worldwide.
Editorially, he said his immediate priority was to boost readership of both The Independent’s free and subscription web sites by attracting a bigger global audience, particularly in America, an obvious English-language growth area.
The Q&A was chaired by Paul Charman, who runs the annual Hugh Cudlipp Lecture as part of the London Press Club’s programme, and is former head of journalism at the London College of Communication.
Press Club chairman Doug Wills said of the event held at The Independent’s offices in Northcliffe House, Kensington: “It was a marvellous evening. I know from the many who spoke to me afterwards how much they appreciated this insight. They found it a fascinating and remarkable story.”
Wills added that it was excellent that the Press Club was joined on the evening by members of the Diplomatic Press Attaches Association of London. “We are proud to have this close alliance,” he said.
A tasting of Champagne Virginie T. was provided during the evening after an introduction by Virginie Taittinger, whose maternal family are Piper Hiedsieck. For further information go to www.champagnevirginiet.com