The Sunday Independent tabloid is the longest-running local newpaper in England and Wales. It was launched in 1808 as the Western Independent as a weekly Sunday newspaper when there were no other local editions. It had always been based in Plymouth until July 2005, when it moved into new offices -- The Tindle Suite -- in Liskeard together with fellow Tindle newspaper, The Cornish Times. It is distributed over a large area from the tip of Cornwall and up to Bristol. The Western Independent went through a few name changes in its two-hundred years, moving to The Independent, the Western Sunday Independent and finally to the Sunday Independent which it holds now.
Recently the paper has switched its main focus to sport, with almost half the paper being a dedicated sport pull-out. It covers the main football teams in the area (Plymouth Argyle, Torquay United, Bristol City and Bristol Rovers and Yeovil) as well as hundreds of local football, rugby and cricket teams. Indeed, its sport coverage reaches right down to local Euchre leagues. The reason for the sport focus is simply this: it is the only local Sunday paper in a large part of its area and so it is able to be the first to offer sports reports from the Saturday matches. The vast majority of its readers are either fans of local teams in the Coca-Cola Leagues who want to see the match reports or players in the local leagues who want to see their name in print.
To help maximise the local sports coverage, the paper has split four ways, changing some pages for Bristol, Devon & Cornwall, Plymouth and Yeovil editions.
After the paper was sold to Tindle Newspapers in 2004, it went through a change of structure. Many permenent staff were laid off in favour of freelancers and temporary staff. This suits the fact that much of the paper's work has to be produced between 6.00 on Saturday and the 9.00 deadline the same day.
According to the most recent figures from the Audit Bureau of Circulation, the Sunday Independent has weekly sales of 27,630.
In July 2005, the Sunday Independent quit its offices in Plymouth and moved to Liskeard.
Some unfacinating facts:
The Encyclopaedia of Plymouth History (http://www.plymouthdata.info/)
The Newspaper Society news