Newly-appointed managing director Christian Broughton speaks at the Society of Editors’ conference finale.
To mark the end of the Society of Editors virtual conference this week, executive director Ian Murray invited The Independent’s Christian Broughton to talk about the news brands move to online, the value of trusted journalism and what the future looks like.
Four years ago, the newspaper made the move to online-only, leading the brand into profit and double-digit revenue growth year-on-year.
On the decision, Broughton reflected: “You can’t build a dynamic future if you are obsessed with curating the museum of the past.”
The change has brought endless opportunities, he said, allowing room for innovation, rebranding and new offerings. Journalists were even asked what they would do if they could start the news brand from scratch.
Broughton added that although innovation is vital for survival, staying focused on the spirit and heritage of the brand and having – at the core of all decisions – the brand’s values of trust, authority and independence is of the utmost importance.
On how these values manifest themselves, he touched upon the campaigning aspect of news brands.
Covid-19 has shone a light on the importance of trusted journalism. Discussing the role of the newsroom during the pandemic, Broughton highlighted the incredible work journalists have been doing in delivering trusted news and holding government to account.
He commented: “To hold the government to account during a time of crisis is now more important than ever and I think on the whole, this industry has done a very very job.”
His new role will be focused on leading new ventures to dynamically grow the business. One of these areas is Independent TV, which will give viewers daily programming online and will allow the news brand to increase its multimedia portfolio.
Another focus for Broughton will be increasing The Independent’s popularity in the U.S. It recently launched a Spanish language site targeted at the Spanish speakers in the U.S. and Latin America, which recently played host to big stories such as the election coverage and the story of Maradona’s death.