Whittam Smith: other newspapers will go online

Andreas Whittam Smith, one of the founders of the Independent has said other national newspapers are “bound to” follow the newspaper in abandoning their daily print editions.

Speaking to BBC Radio last week, when the Independent’s decision to cease print production was confirmed by the title’s current owners, Whittam Smith said that while he loved print editions of newspapers, the future was questionable for a number of titles in print.

“Daily print journalism is dying on its feet,” he said. “Others are bound to [stop printing] in due course.”

He said he believed the Telegraph, Guardian and Financial Times were likely to follow the Independent and move to an online model.

In his comment column on Saturday, Independent editor Amol Rajan said: “The simple fact is, there just aren’t enough people who are prepared to pay for printed news, especially during the week. With our circulations and advertising down, very substantially, the future of our print edition would inevitably be one of managing decline.”

Whittam Smith said the Independent could claim a number of many newspaper publishing innovations, including being the first broadsheet to go tabloid, and the first to launch a Saturday magazine.

It remains to be seen whether its move to an online-only future will also set a trend.

After the Independent confirmed that it would stop printing next month, News Corp executive chairman Rupert Murdoch tweeted: “Sadly UK’s Independent print paper closes after about 30 years. Any loss of diversity bad.”