Tag Archives: Independent

Independent announces a price rise and new journalist appointments

The Independent announced an increase in the price of its weekday editions to £1.20 today, which editor Chris Blackhurst said was “bringing it into line with other newspapers”.

In a note to readers published online Blackhurst said:

For almost four years, the Independent has not raised its price. During that period, we have faced intense financial pressures. Inflation has been high and the recession severe and prolonged.

Newsprint, transportation and other production costs continue to rise, seemingly inexorably. Despite that, we have held off asking for more from you as long as we can. Alas, we cannot hold out any longer.

The 20p rise comes into place from Monday (23 April). Its Saturday edition will stay at £1.60.

Blackhurst also outlined new supplements and the appointment of new writers to the Independent (including Grace Dent, who joins from the Guardian) in his message to readers:

From Saturday week, we will be offering refreshed supplements and a flagship arts, books, listings and culture magazine: Radar. From its name you can guess that Radar’s aim is to give you advance notice of everything that’s worth knowing in that space.

… The Independent recently added to its award-winning team of writers two of the brightest new, young stars in the journalistic firmament: Owen Jones and Laurie Penny. They are now joined by more talent, wooed from the competition – the brilliant, sassy, funny Grace Dent.

Independent uses Spotify button to add ‘new angle to music journalism’

The Independent has announced that it has added music service Spotify’s new play button to its site which “means we can add a new angle to our music journalism”.

Writing in a blog post, Jack Riley, head of digital audience and content development for the Independent and i, explains that any website can add the new button which allows readers to stream music without leaving the host site.

For the Independent this means we can add a new angle to our music journalism; as well as adding streamable albums to our album reviews (see Alabama Shakes here), we can embed setlists into our live reviews (Kylie) and singles into our weekly charts. We’ll also be using the player to illustrate features; this piece from Nick Hasted on jazz’s influence on pop music (via Radiohead) is a great example of how the player can really add something to the reading experience.

You can see all of the tracks we’ve used the play button on this page which also explains how the button works. We’re tweeting articles featuring the new functionality with the hashtag #listenwithspotify and results for that hashtag from us are displayed on that page.


Independent: Robert Peston is most influential UK journalist on Twitter

The Independent and i have today published their “Twitter 100” of the “most powerful Britons on Twitter”.

Richard Branson tops the overall list, with Peston, the BBC’s business editor, named at number 29.

Journalists and media figures take up a third of the top 100.

The Independent and i used PeerIndex, which measures online influence, to rank the Twitterati.

Peston also now tops the Journalism.co.uk-compiled PeerIndex #J100 list of journalists on Twitter, collated last year, and the growing #UKJourn master list of journalists on Twitter.

Journalists/media – ranking in top 100 in brackets

Robert Peston (29)
Felix Salmon (36)
Hilary Alexander (36)
Cory Doctorow (38)
Faisal Islam (38)
Paul Mason (38)
Paul Waugh (46)
Sunny Hundal (46)
Tim Bradshaw (46)
Johnathan Freedland (49)
Andrew Sparrow (54)
Sandra Hagelstam (56)
Charles Arthur (56)
Caitlin Moran (60)
Medhi Hasan (60)
Neal Mann (62)
Laura Kuenssberg (62)
Phil McNulty (65)
Rory Cellan-Jones (65)
Alastair Campbell (65)
George Monbiot (67)
Susanna Lau (69)
Alberto Nardelli (73)
India Knight (73)
David Bradley (73)
Alan Rusbrridger (77)
Milo Yiannopoulos (77)
Jemima Khan (80)
Andrew Lewis (80)
Roger Highfield (84)
Fraser Nelson (87)
Ian Mansfield (87)
David Stringer (90)
Giles Coren (90)

Independent backs Paul Dacre’s press card proposal

Paul Dacre giving evidence to the Leveson inquiry yesterday

The Independent has supported Daily Mail editor Paul Dacre’s suggestion to create a register of accredited journalists and toughen up access to the press card.

In a leader article today, the paper agreed that the “kitemark” system had potential, claiming: “Some information sources are more reliable than others.”

Mr Dacre was right that the idea that journalists should be licensed by the state is repellent to the fundamentals of press freedom. But there is merit in his suggestion for a body replacing, or sitting alongside, the existing Press Complaints Commission, which would be charged with the wider upholding of media standards.

One of its functions might be the issuing of a press card which could be suspended or withdrawn from individuals who gravely breach those standards. And while some people will argue that a kitemark for professional journalism might threaten freedom of expression in an age when much news and comment originates with bloggers and social networks, there is no danger to that freedom in giving the public what might be called a quality reassurance. Some information sources are more reliable than others.

Dacre admitted yesterday that he hadn’t given much thought to whether digital journalists would be eligible for the scheme.

The Guardian’s Dan Sabbagh says Dacre’s proposal risks pushing bloggers “right to the fringes of the system

Meanwhile, where would foreign media, with their own rules, fit in? Nor is it certain that a Dacrecard system would be effective. Whilst some of the reporting closed shops, most obviously the political lobby, confer benefits, being outside it does not hamper quality political journalism. It could be surprisingly easy to make a mockery of the Dacrecard system.

TheMediaBlog agrees:

This self-serving suggestion is a clear attempt to ostracise whole swathes of the predominantly online media industry who would eat Dacre’s lunch given half the chance.

Top 10 Twitter news stories of 2011

After taking a look at the top 10 Facebook news stories of 2011 yesterday, today we are publishing a list of the year’s top Twitter stories.

This list is based on data from SEO and social data tool Searchmetrics.

A liveblog makes it in at number two, plus there are photo stories and a news game (see number four).

1. Independent: Why the Fukushima disaster is worse than Chernobyl = 83,529

2. BBC: LIVE: Osama Bin Laden dead = 77,853

3. Mail Online: The big pictures: The moment Japan’s cataclysmic tsunami engulfed a nation =  74,835

4. BBC: The world at seven billion = 73,783

5. BBC: Apple holding more cash than USA = 70,202

6. Guardian: Top 100 women = 48,250

7. BBC: Malawi row over whether new law bans farting = 38,861

8. Mail: Back from the dead: Astonishing pictures show how Japan is recovering just three months after tsunami = 31,750

9. BBC: Spelling mistakes ‘cost millions’ in lost online sales = 28,253

10. BBC: Sacrebleu! = 27,377

Data was gathered using Searchmetrics and downloaded for analysis on 6 December. The news outlets included were: BBC, Guardian, Telegraph, Independent, Mail Online, the Sun, the Mirror. You can see the downloaded Twitter data here.

Top 10 Facebook news stories of 2011

Facebook last week published a list of the most shared articles on Facebook in 2011. That list included only US publishers – so we decided to create a list of the most shared, liked and commented articles from UK news outlets.

This list is based on data from SEO and social data tool Searchmetrics.

As with the US list, stories range from hard news to quirky (or “cute”, as Facebook describes them). Interestingly, the two top stories are newsgames, where the reader is invited to participate using gaming mechanics. (It’s worth mentioning here that there will be a session on newsgames and gaming mechanics at our news:rewired conference for journalists, for which the agenda is here.) The list also includes online video (another news:rewired topic).

The top 10 most shared, commented and liked Facebook news articles of 2011:

1. BBC: The world at 7 billion = 339,149 (shares, comments and likes)

2. Guardian: Charlie Sheen v Muammar Gaddafi: whose line is it anyway? = 219,023

3. Mail Online: Amy Winehouse, 27, found dead at her London flat after suspected ‘drug overdose’ = 190,498

4. BBC: Austrian driver allowed ‘pastafarian’ headgear photo = 167,754

5. BBC: Japan earthquake: Tsunami hits north-east = 159,023

6. BBC: Breast milk ice cream goes on sale in Covent Garden = 149,509

7. BBC: Osama Bin Laden, al-Qaeda leader, dead – Barack Obama = 146,244

8. BBC: Drunk Swedish elk found in apple tree near Gothenburg = 146,182

9. Mail Online: Robber who broke into hair salon is beaten by its black-belt owner and kept as a sex slave for three days… fed only Viagra = 145,413

10. BBC: London rioters: ‘Showing the rich we do what we want’ = 131,839


Top 10 most shared news articles on Facebook in 2011

1. BBC: The world at 7 billion = 147,000

2. Guardian: Charlie Sheen v Muammar Gaddafi: whose line is it anyway? = 65,820

3. BBC: Japan earthquake: Tsunami hits north-east = 60,238

4. BBC: Austrian driver allowed ‘pastafarian’ headgear photo = 54,800

5. BBC: Drunk Swedish elk found in apple tree near Gothenburg = 44,700

6. BBC: Osama Bin Laden, al-Qaeda leader, dead – Barack Obama = 38,891

7. BBC: Speed-of-light results under scrutiny at Cern = 36,700

8. BBC: London rioters: ‘Showing the rich we do what we want’ = 36,500

9. Mail Online: Meet the blind Great Dane in need of a home (but you’ll need to make space for HER huge guide dog) = 34,600

10. BBC: Amy Winehouse: Tributes paid to dead singer = 31,400


Top 10 most ‘liked’ articles on Facebook

1. BBC: The world at 7 billion = 75,619

2. Mail Online: The 9/11 rescue dogs: Portraits of the last surviving animals who scoured Ground Zero one decade on = 62,458

3. BBC: Austrian driver allowed ‘pastafarian’ headgear photo = 61,306

4. BBC: Drunk Swedish elk found in apple tree near Gothenburg = 51,618

5. BBC: Osama Bin Laden, al-Qaeda leader, dead – Barack Obama = 49,882

6. BBC: The world at 7 billion = 47,449

7. Mail Online – Beauty in every grain: For the first time remarkable photographs reveal hidden charms of ordinary SAND = 43,760

8. Mail Online: Robber who broke into hair salon is beaten by its black-belt owner and kept as a sex slave for three days… fed only Viagra = 42799

9. Mail Online: Cheeky monkey! Macaque borrows photographer’s camera to take hilarious self-portraits

10. The Sun: Frankie Cocozza 
kicked off X Factor


Top 10 most commented news articles on Facebook in 2011

1. Mail Online: Amy Winehouse, 27, found dead at her London flat after suspected ‘drug overdose’ = 127,396

2. BBC: The world at 7 billion = 116,530

3. BBC: Breast milk ice cream goes on sale in Covent Garden = 108,258

4. Guardian: Charlie Sheen v Muammar Gaddafi: whose line is it anyway? = 105,754

5. BBC: London rioters: ‘Showing the rich we do what we want’ = 73,350

6. BBC: Amy Winehouse: Tributes paid to dead singer = 72,313

7. Mail Online: Robber who broke into hair salon is beaten by its black-belt owner and kept as a sex slave for three days… fed only Viagra = 71,514

8. BBC: Japan earthquake: Tsunami hits north-east = 68,830

9. Independent: US preacher warns end of the world is nigh: 21 May, around 6pm, to be precise = 67,388

10. BBC: Speed-of-light results under scrutiny at Cern = 59,824

Data was gathered using Searchmetrics and downloaded for analysis on 6 December. The news outlets included were: BBC, Guardian, Telegraph, Independent, Mail Online, the Sun, the Mirror. You can see the downloaded Facebook data here.

Guardian’s Facebook app delivering 1m extra hits a day

The Guardian’s Facebook app is generating almost a million extra page impressions per day, according to figures released by the news outlet and by Facebook.

Two months on from its launch at Facebook’s f8 conference in London the app has been installed by over four million users.

The news outlet also believes that the app is engaging a younger audience, as over half (56.7 per cent) of the app’s users are 24 and under and 16.7 per cent are 17 and under.

Andrew Miller, chief executive officer of Guardian Media Group, said in a statement:

As well as increasing traffic, the app is making our journalism visible to new audiences. Over half of the app’s users are 24 and under – traditionally a very hard-to-reach demographic for news organisations

The Independent, the other UK-based news outlet to launch a Facebook app following f8 on 22 September, is reporting that it has more than one million monthly active users connecting their Facebook accounts.

The integration has bumped up older articles that have gone viral through social distribution, according to the Facebook post detailing the statistics.

The news organisation found that many of the “most shared” and “most viewed” stories on the site have been from the late 1990s, “a result of the increased social virality”.

The Guardian and Independent both took a different approach when building their Facebook apps. The Guardian focused on the reading experience within Facebook, the shared reading experience for the Independent takes place on the news site.

Yahoo! News, which like the Independent integrated the app into its site, has reported that 10 million people are using the app, with Yahoo! News experiencing a 600 per cent increase in traffic coming from Facebook as a result.

People who connect to Facebook on Yahoo! read more articles than the average user, the Facebook post states.

Like the Guardian, the Washington Post built a social reader app for Facebook as a companion for its website with the social sharing taking place within Facebook. It has drawn more than 3.5 million monthly active users so far. The Facebook post states that the social reader is growing, especially among international audiences and younger readers, with 83 per cent of readers under 35 years old.

According to Facebook, the statistics released last night show that the apps do five things:

1. Show recommendations to increase engagement. Keep people engaged by prominently showing friends’ recent activity on your main pages and pages with high exit rates. When no social content is available, surface personalised recommendations based on users’ interests on Facebook and clearly explain why you’re showing each recommendation.

2. Create compelling objects. Maximise the click through rates of your stories by specifying Open Graph tags for all your articles and including compelling images, titles and descriptions. Avoid misleading images or titles to prevent your app from being marked as spam, which will negatively impact your app’s distribution in news feed.

3. Leverage your existing user base. If you have an existing site, be sure to make connecting a prominent option for existing users. And if people are already sharing your content on Facebook, consider sending referral traffic from Facebook into a flow that makes it easy for people to have a social experience on your site.

4. Make the benefits of sharing clear. Open Graph apps are designed for people that want to share. In your app, you should clearly explain how your app works and the benefits of adding your app to their timeline. Choose an approach that makes the most sense for your users, whether that’s an informative dialog, in-line marketing messaging, house ad inventory, and/or a learn more page.

5.  Keep users in control. As we’ve previously highlighted, people are more active when they are in control. In addition to the privacy controls on Facebook, we encourage you to build controls into your app that fit how people use your app.

Independent launches site redesign and new iPad app

The Independent has today launched a revamp of its website, the same day as it released a new iPad app .

The site redesign follows a makeover of the layout of the print edition of the paper and a new masthead and also takes place in the same month the Independent launched a metered paywall outside the UK.

Martin King, editor of Independent.co.uk, explains the changes to the site in a post:

  • We have introduced greater flexibility in our use of images. This not only means a homepage and channel pages that can better reflect the variance of our daily coverage, but also a more dynamic use of images in articles.
  • There is a smoother and more flexible integration of video that better matches the YouTube and 24-hour TV world.
  • There are clearer ways to express yourself – comment on an article, share it with your Facebook friends or Tweet your view about it.
  • Meanwhile Jack Riley, our head of digital development, has devised some further advances. These include: a new tagging system for the site; dynamic pages for all of our writers; and a more intelligent automated system for related content. We’re also extending our use of Facebook’s Open Graph to include more topic pages and all writers. His article will follow shortly.

The most recently released ABC-audited web figures show Independent.co.uk had 14,675,273 unique browsers in September.

The Independent’s new iPad app is free for an initial trial period and will then charge users £19.99 a month for access to “premium” digital content from the Independent and Independent on Sunday.

This compares to £9.99 a month for the Guardian’s new iPad app, which provides content six days a week as it excludes the Observer; £9.99 for the Times iPad edition, again providing content six days a week; and £9.99 a month for the Telegraph iPad app which, like the Independent, provides content seven days a week.


‘We wanted to make ourselves more Facebookey’, says Guardian

The Guardian and Independent are two of the first news sites to build a new breed of Facebook apps, which were unveiled at the f8 conference yesterday (Thursday, 22 September).

Here is director of Facebook’s platform partnerships Christian Hernandez explaining how the apps and the new ‘recommend bar’ work.

Facebook’s Christian Hernandez on the launch of the Guardian and Independent Facebook apps by journalismnews

News sites will be watching to see whether the new apps result in a jump in Facebook referrals to the Guardian and the Independent.

Outlets will also be keen to discover whether Facebook users prefer the Independent and Yahoo News approach of the social engagement happening on the news sites, or whether the Guardian, the Washington Post and the Daily have the winning formula, with the experience happening within Facebook.

The Guardian’s theory is that Facebook users like the experience of being on Facebook so rather than direct readers away, they want them to explore the Guardian within the platform.

Head of digital engagement at the Guardian Meg Pickard told Journalism.co.uk:

We wanted to make ourselves more Facebookey. We also know that if people come to the Guardian via Facebook they often bounce back to Facebook see what else a friends are recommending.

She said despite the Guardian’s being an app within Facebook it is incorrect to think most users will access it as they would a smartphone app.

The starting point is your friend’s timeline, not the app.

The single opt-in to the app – where users agree to share everything they are reading – is an interesting development and both the Independent and Guardian have been quick to assure users they have full control.

Pickard said:

You might be happy for friends to see that you’ve read an article on tarte citron but less comfortable with a public note to say you have read an article called “my husband is a cross-dresser”, so you can quickly click the cross to hide that from your friends.

She explained conversations between the Guardian and Facebook took place throughout the summer with the news organisation’s in-house developers building the app, making the most of the open technologies.

We’ve got our open API, Facebook has this open graph.

The Independent has taken a different approach – its app encourages Facebook user engagement on its site rather than within a user’s personal profile on the social network.

Here’s head of audience and content development at the Independent Jack Riley explaining more on the soon-to-be-released app:

Jack Riley from the Independent discusses the newspaper’s new Facebook app by journalismnews


Independent: January launch ‘highly probable’ for Sun on Sunday

It is “highly probable” that the Sun on Sunday will launch in January, media commentator Stephen Glover predicted in the Independent today.

In his article on the rumoured new Sunday paper, Glover also explains why he thinks a Sun on Sunday makes better business sense than the News of the World, which “despite selling some 2.8 million copies a week, was barely breaking even”.

Glover argues that the Sun will need to recruit a fraction of the 160 News of the World journalists in order to “produce a seventh-day edition of the newspaper”.

If it sells at 50p (half the price of the News of the World, and cheaper than Sunday red-top rivals) it would probably be profitable with a circulation of a million. In the event, it may well sell many more copies than that.

Glover describes the axing of the News of the World and anticipated creation of the seven-day Sun as a “cynical charade” by the Murdochs.

In other words, far from being a sacrifice, shutting down the Sunday red-top and launching a seventh-day edition of The Sun carries a significant economic benefit. The Murdochs were able to represent themselves as acting decisively and almost altruistically – rather as a farmer might regretfully shoot a rabid dog that has been a cherished family pet. Now it turns out that the dog was old, unloved and expensive to keep, and there is a young puppy waiting in the wings which will be a much better proposition. The whole process has been a cynical charade.

He also argues the case against the launch of a red-top title from Associated Newspapers, publishers of the Daily Mail. After an initial boost for the Mail on Sunday, sales have now slowed, according to August circulation figures, and Glover suggests “Associated would probably be wise to stay away”.

Glover’s full post is at this link.