Was closure of Independent print edition loss to society? Former chief executive Steve Auckland: 'Not really'

Pic of Auckland; courtesy of Campaign magazine

The former chief executive of Independent parent company ESI Media has said the closure of the print edition was not a loss to society.

In an interview with City AM former ESI Media chief executive Steve Auckland was asked whether the closure in March, which resulted in around 100 journalists losing their jobs, was a loss to society.

He said: “It’s always a tricky one that… Well, not really. Because I think… it’s not a loss to society when you’ve got the website there.

“And people can easily get onto the website and they can get all that information. I don’t think it is a loss to society.”

He said there were no bidders for the Independent print titles.

And of the decision to close The Independent and Independent on Sunday, he said: “It was not an easy decision.

“Evgeny [Lebedev, the owner] made the call on it. Obviously we advised him. But it was literally the day before, the final call [was made]. He was taking it really seriously.”

The Independent continues as a website and is believed to have a staff of 75. It attracts just over 3m unique browsers per day.

The closure of The Independent followed the Johnston Press decision to buy the i newspaper for £24m.

Sales of the i over risen since the closure of The Independent and are now running at up to around 300,000 per day.

In 2012 Auckland unsuccessfully sued Twitter when he was chief executive of regional press group Nortchliffe to try to stop spook account @unstevedorkland.

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