Manchester's City Life to be axed after 22 years

By Colin Crummy and Dominic Ponsford

Long-running Manchester entertainment magazine City Life is to be
axed and 13 editorial and design staff sacked by owner Guardian Media
Group, which claims the title has not been profitable in 15 years.

The magazine, originally set up as a workers’ co-operative in 1983,
was due to shut down this week, but the NUJ in the city has pledged to
fight the closure.

GMG, which is also cutting 35 jobs in
circulation and marketing across its regional group, said it would
carry more listings information in sister title the Manchester Evening
News or on its TV channel, Channel M, to fill the gap.

Founder
editor Chris Paul said no newspaper supplement could replace the weekly
magazine, but he added: “I’m sorry to see the title stop, but it is
very different from when we started it as a workers’ co-op. It was
about alternative news and views – scurrilous and irreverent – now it’s
a what’s-on guide.

“But it will be badly missed by businesses and artists that rely on City Life to get their foot in the door.”

GMG
Regional Newspapers chief executive Mark Dodson blamed the downturn in
the advertising market for the job losses, but added: “For 15 years we
tried every possible way to make this magazine a success.

“We
changed the format from biweekly to weekly, but we have found there is
no way of making it profitable in the foreseeable future.”

NUJ
regional organiser, Miles Barter, said the MEN and City Life chapels
planned to fight the closure with a citywide leafleting campaign, while
a ballot for industrial action would be held if there were compulsory
redundancies.

In its original form, City Life included
contributions from BBC film critic Mark Kermode and Guardian journalist
and documentary maker Jon Ronson. It was sold to GMG in 1989.

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