Media: Independent editor doubts print's future

The Independent's new editor Chris Blackhurst is not convinced printed newspapers will survive for another 25 years.

Asked by MediaWeek whether the paper would be around to celebrate its 50th anniversary, Blackhurst said: 'If the industry was staying the same, yes. But can I see any paper lasting for 25 years? I really don't know.'

He added: 'People I know always tell me they don't have time to read newspapers ... My kids don't read any newspapers. That's really depressing, because they are the future.'

The Independent's website has just been overhauled and an international paywall introduced. Non-UK readers have to pay the equivalent of £4.50 per month after 20 free stories, but Blackhurst said such a levy would not spread to the UK.

'Having a paywall in this country, when you're up against a free BBC and a free Guardian, is probably not advisable,' he argued.

His arrival in the editor's seat was instigated by Russian owner Evgeny Lebedev. Blackhurst said: 'He (Lebedev) had done his own little market research and politicians had said to him they weren't reading the paper. If I can get the paper being read, talked about and high profile, then I will have succeeded.'

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