The sad decline of The Independent

I had noticed that The Independent had ceased to be a newspaper and had become instead a soap-box from which Simon Kelner and his staff could bore on about Iraq and the environment. A sad decline from the refreshingly open-minded and wide-ranging paper of its launch. But I didn't know why.

Now The Daily Ablution has provided the explanation. The switch from newspaper to "viewspaper" under Simon Kelner was deliberate. It's one answer to the threat of the internet, I suppose, though I would have thought a better one would have been to provide the in-depth, critical and impartial reporting that is so often missing from the scribblings of the online community. Making it an organ of opinion rather than fact and analysis seems to me to diminish, not enhance the value of the printed and professional media.

Given their circulation relative to The Times and The Telegraph (not to mention the more mass-market papers), and the fact that they are having to offer voluntary redundancy to a demoralised staff that is already lighter than the opposition, it seems that the market is confirming the error of Kelner's ways, though one can see the attractiveness of printing mere opinion when you can't afford real journalists to do the research. 

For this information and the excellent hatchet job on The Indy's silly pro-EU front-page from yesterday, The Daily Ablution has been duly added to our list of recommended individualist blogs.