The Independent has won Content Team of the Year at the British Media Awards after an outstanding year of global editorial coverage, which saw it reach more readers than at any point in the titles history.
The judges were impressed by the Indys rapid transformation into a global news behemoth after the papers closure just two years ago, noting its development from a revered yet declining newspaper into a vibrant and rapidly expanding website underpinned by the same values that have always made the title distinctive.
Presenting the award, BBC presenter Lauren Laverne referred to TheIndependent as a great 2017 success story,with the quality of brand and product to become a market leader.
The numbers alone show the rapid pace of growth The Independent has enjoyed. Every month of 2017 showed year-on-year gains, with readership surging by as much as 72 per cent compared to the equivalent month in 2016. Having never reached 100m online unique users in a month before, we exceeded it seven times during 2017, reaching 123m unique browsers in August.
The Independent had the highest Facebook reach and engagement of any of the main news publishers in the UK, beating the Daily Mail, The Guardian, The Telegraph, The Mirror, The Sun and The Times. And we did this while keeping social justice, international reporting and political journalism at the fore. A story on a European parliament vote on visa rules for American tourists was the most successful article of the year in sending readers to our site from social media, attracting 4.6m unique users.
But the numbers alone do not tell the story of the sites success. The best-shared stories were on serious events not, as some critics might contend, the result of chasing clickbait.
In a general election where the big beasts of Fleet Street expect to set the agenda, The Independent in true form refused to back a party and sought to engage with younger voters, especially on issues like tuition fees and voter registration.
Further afield, The Independent has made significant investment in foreign coverage, with staff positions created in Brussels, Moscow, New York, Washington DC and San Francisco in 2017.
The first full year of being a digital-only publisher was always going to be a challenge, but it produced results far beyond what could have been planned or hoped for, hitting profit after decades of significant losses. A threatened newspaper with a declining circulation and no long-term future has become one of the best read, most surprising, hardest campaigning, politically potent and commercially successful news sites in the country.