The Independent is a digital periodical with deep roots in Newfoundland and Labrador. We’re committed to telling stories and publishing commentary inspired and written by the people of Newfoundland and Labrador for the people of Newfoundland and Labrador.
We believe an independent media plays a vital role in understanding Newfoundland and Labrador’s place in the world – in questioning who we were, who we are, who we want to be. The Independent is part of the fabric and culture of Newfoundland and Labrador and our team is working to carry on the vision that began a decade ago.
The Independent was founded in 2003 as an independently owned and operated print newspaper based in St. John’s that covered all of Newfoundland and Labrador. For many readers the pink, white and green ‘Republican’ flag evoked thoughts of an independent Newfoundland and Labrador. The paper’s name in fact represents a rallying cry for an independent, locally owned and operated media – a made-right-here source of stories, news, commentary and analysis. In a world of media conglomerates, where newspapers are being swallowed up by large national or transnational corporate chains based in mainland Canada or the United States, concerns for profit often trounce journalistic integrity.
We believe that independent storytelling contributes to building a better, healthier society.
Under the direction of publisher Brian Dobbin and editor Ryan Cleary, The Independent’s print run lasted from 2003-2008. During that time the paper established a reputation for hard-hitting and award-winning journalism, coupled with challenging – and at times controversial – opinion pieces, and insightful arts, culture and lifestyle coverage. It developed a strong readership and enshrined a special place in Newfoundland and Labrador’s public discourse. Whether publishing a daring multi-part cost-benefit analysis of the province’s experience in Confederation, or demanding safety for those who work in the offshore, The Independent provided a critical voice and assortment of perspectives for Newfoundland and Labrador, reflecting the province’s changing social, economic, political and cultural conditions against the backdrop of its deeply rooted traditions.
In 2005 the Indy, as the publication has affectionately become known, was awarded a citation of merit from the prestigious Michener Awards Foundation – an organization established to recognize excellence in public service journalism. A survey in 2006 estimated The Independent had a regular readership of 40,000 Newfoundlanders.
Sadly, as the global recession took hold of North America’s already reeling newspaper industry, in 2008 The Independent’s publishers decided they could no longer sustain the paper. The Indy ceased publication that year. The province lost its only truly independent source of print news.
The Spirit Lives On…
After the paper’s demise, the demand for another media source only grew alongside the province’s fortunes. In 2010 Brian Dobbin collaborated with a team of young journalists to revive the Indy as an online publication. Dobbin, editor Emilie Bourque Whittle and Gavin Simms assembled a new team of writers, reporters, and contributors to deliver the same professional and hard-hitting news, analysis and commentary that has defined the paper’s identity since the beginning.
The Independent was officially revived in its online form on Feb. 21, 2011. The publication was launched modestly and has gradually earned a dedicated readership within the province and around Canada and the world. With a warm reception from its new and returning readers, the team used the months ahead to refine and improve its online home. In the process the project’s reins were passed on to a small team committed to the idea of an independent media source for Newfoundland and Labrador.
Justin Brake, Hans Rollmann and a group of dedicated contributors formed the close-knit team that covered complex and challenging issues, with a particular focus on coverage of Muskrat Falls protests. Justin Brake’s excellence earned him a job offer with an aboriginal media outlet and he left the team in November of 2017.
In December of 2017, Michelle Porter joined the team as lead editor. She is working with Hans Rollman and The Independent’s team of contributors to tell stories that continue to surprise, inform, and make a difference.
Swimming against the current, The Independent is determined to continue providing an independent and professional source of news and commentary that is inspired and written by the people of Newfoundland and Labrador for the people of Newfoundland and Labrador.
There are many opportunities ahead, but our small team is limited by our own personal time and resources.
The Independent needs your support to keep our vision alive, and to ensure that Newfoundland and Labrador continues to have an independent, professional media source to carry our voice, our experiences, and our debates about the future into the 21st Century and beyond…
We hope that you may consider a voluntary subscription or one-time donation to support us. To learn more, click here.
Thank you for reading and supporting The Independent!