Veteran media commentator Ray Snoddy has predicted that the Independent “will not be with us by next year”.
The former Times and Financial Times media editor told journalism students at Coventry University that mounting losses would force Independent News and Media to take action and the title’s future looked increasingly bleak.
“In the UK, any person could buy the Independent tomorrow for £1,” Snoddy said. “The problem is you have to take on annual losses of £10m.”
He also said he expected to see other “casualties” in the British newspaper industry in the coming years.
Snoddy singled out the Daily Express, which he said had geared down its operations by cutting costs and staff and taking money out of the business.
He said of the Richard Desmond-owned title: “In five to 10 years time, it won’t be here. The Daily Express will no longer remain a legitimate business enterprise.”
But Snoddy said the “biggest problem of all” was the local and regional press, which he said was the source of many of the news stories that appeared in the national media.
He said the public should be concerned about the closure of local titles because “what really matters is the method to fund the newsgathering that leads on to other platforms”.
“Most stories start from local reporters and move up the food chain,” Snoddy added.
“The BBC, for instance, is deeply parasitic and gets most of its ideas and information from local journalists who have to do all the leg work.”