It leans slightly to the Left, though not as much as The Guardian – from time to time its editorials cover issues dearer to the political Right.
In 1990 it gained a Sunday sister title, the Independent on Sunday.
It was the first of the national quality papers to publish in full in a tabloid format, in 2003 (The Guardian had already been publishing its G2 section as a tabloid for several years before that), although it prefers to describe the format in rather mealy-mouthed fashion as “compact”. For a few months it offered both broadsheet and tabloid, before winding up its broadsheet version in May 2004.
It attracted some comment for its practice in recent years of devoting its front page to editorial comment, which has earned it the somewhat negative description of being a “viewspaper” rather than a newspaper. However, in a facelift in October 2011 – intended to embrace its digital offerings as well as the print newspaper – it reverted to carrying news stories on its front page. At the same time it adopted a more “friendly” bold red sans-serif typeface for its masthead, which prompted mixed reactions, and launched an iPad app.
In March 2010 it was sold by Independent News & Media to Independent Print Ltd, a company owned by Russian businessman and former KGB officer Aleksandr Lebedev (who bought the London Evening Standard in January 2009).
A sister tabloid publication described as a “concise quality” newspaper, i, was launched in October 2010. It currently (November 2013) has a circulation over four times that of The Independent.
The editorial offices are in Knightsbridge in western Central London – in Northcliffe House, which is also headquarters of the Daily Mail & General Trust.