New Independent on Sunday editor says further integration 'not on the agenda'

Incoming editor of the Independent on Sunday John Mullin said that further merging of departments with its daily sister was ‘not on the agenda”.

Although he would not go as far as ruling out the possibility of further integration, he insisted that the IoS would retain its own identity.

Mullin told Press Gazette: ‘All newspapers are looking at the best way to use their resources in very tight markets. You would be wrong to suggest that it’s not an important thing to look at. From my point of view at the IoS there will be no diminishing of its identity.

‘There are no plans to integrate any further as far as I’m aware; it’s not on the agenda. The business desk is the only one that it is happening with. Our heads of department are still working exclusively for the IoS.”

Mullin pointed out that a number of appointments had been made by him in the last month that were exclusive to the title including the Evening Standard’s diarist Matthew Bell and ‘a rising star at Westminster’Jane Merrick as political editor who joins from the Daily Mail.

The IoS has also taken on Maggie Pagano as business editor.

Mullin said: ‘Maggie will have her own dedicated team for Business on Sunday, plus we are able to tap into resources from The Independent. From my point of view that is a net gain not a net loss.”

In February last year, The Observer broke new ground for a national Sunday newspaper by breaking a story about a bird flu outbreak online during the week.

Mullin said he understood The Observer’s decision and agreed that under the necessary circumstances the IoS would do the same.

‘If that were the best course to follow on a particular given story then we would do it.

‘We would have to think carefully in every case and I can see why The Observer did it. Certainly with one of its bird flu stories they knew the relevant department was going to make an announcement the next day so they would have lost it anyway.’

Last week, Mullin replaced Tristan Davies who had edited the title for six years. Mullin, who previously spent a year as deputy, has been deputy editor at The Scotsman, executive editor of The Independent and Ireland correspondent for The Guardian.

He added: ‘Tristan Davies did a fantastic job bringing out a vibrant, lively, well-thought-out, campaigning paper. It’s a shame I wasn’t able to work with him for longer.”

Asked about internet rumours that The Independent was to go free Mullin said: ‘I don’t know where it’s come from or who has dreamt it up. It’s just not something that’s debated at all within the company.”

The IoS reported a headline ABC figure of just under 200,000 in December, 0.3 per cent down on December 2006.

Mullin said: ‘We are obviously in a particular situation in the Sunday market in that we are probably more tightly resourced than our main competitors would be.

‘What we really have to do and what my task is to try to make the best of the fantastic staff we have got. We have to be very creative and to be intelligent and to have a bit of wit.

‘It’s no longer enough on a Sunday newspaper to do what maybe papers were doing five, 10 years ago, but some papers still do.

‘From the point of view of the IoS compared with the past two or three years we probably need to get a little bit more into the news analysis of what’s happened in the past week in a bright engaging way.”

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