Sunday, 08 November 2009

Another newspaper closure in London

In my previous post ‘Economic crisis cost closure of another publication” I said:
Given all this and many other instances, I wonder if all the decision we will be taking as of now - whether good or bad - are due to this 'economic crisis' no matter how much sense, at times, they do not make.

This statement, I must admit, is worth mentioning again.

This comes after The Guardian newspaper on Friday reported the closure of one of London newspapers, London Litejust over three years since the free paper first appeared on the streets of the capital.’

London Lite, launched by Daily Mail & General Trust subsidiary Associated Newspapers in august 2003 – reported to have about 1 million readers and an average of 400 000 copies handed out outside the rail and tube stations in central London – is at the risk of losing about 36 editorial staff.

However, ‘the company is in the process of trying to find roles for as many as possible elsewhere in the group,’ The Guardian newspaper reported on Friday.

At the time of writing it could not be confirmed media houses who have closed some of its publications for whatever reasons have communicated the closure such with affected parties being freelance writers and permanent and temporary staffers like DMGT “revealed on 27 October that it was planning to close the title after a period of consultation with staff.”

And as some industry commentators have predicted, the decision was likely to take place.

This is because the company this year launched the London Evening Standard for free.

Therefore, it would not make any sense or even just a little at all to launch a free publication and at the same time have another one run on subscription. As a result, of the two, London Lite or London Evening Standard, was bound to come to an end as one could not be sure how the company would have been able to sustain a free newspaper while many other publications (ran on advertising and subscriptions) have seen some closure or incorporation of some sort as of recent time, especially in the US.

The worst thing that ever happens, for anyone who works in media, is the closure of a newspaper. Because it feels like part of you is dead, said South Africa’s managing director of BDFM, Mzi Malunga, in reference to the closure, again, of one of the company’s newspaper The Weekender with its last edition yesterday, 7th October 2009.

Malunga thanked “the Weekender’s readers, advertisers and staff for their faith shown in the newspaper”.

Associated Newspaper managing director Steve Auckland on the other hand in reference to the closure of London Lite is quoted by The Guardian as having said:

“[he’d] like to thank all of the staff at Lite for their unbridled enthusiasm and magnificent contributions to the paper over the last three years.

It's been a pleasure to work with a small and highly motivated team of individuals. I'd also like to thank the agencies and clients for supporting a unique offering in the afternoon market place – and not forgetting our 1 million daily readers."

While neither Associated Newspapers nor Auckland has explicitly attributed the closure to the economic crisis unlike Malunga who said ‘the recession [had] lengthened the financial breakeven to a dangerous extent’ – here too, the closure like other publications around the world can also be attributed the same ‘recession’.

Just how many newspapers are still to be closured as a result of this ‘recession’?

Or is it “Evening Standard goes free -> London Lite closes -> Evening Standard starts charging again?" as The Guardian quoted Jonathan Bowman on Twitter as suggesting ‘a conspiracy-theory-and-a-half from Lebedev.

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