Terror coverage drives sales growth at Evening Standard

By Dominic Ponsford

The Evening Standard is expecting to report strong sales growth for July following its coverage of the London terror attacks.

In June, the newspaper continued its recent steep downward sales
slide, dropping 12.19 per cent year-on-year in paid-for sales to
332,524.

But according to editor Veronica Wadley, the London
bombings have reaffirmed the paper’s place in London life. She said:
“The importance of the Evening Standard in the lives of Londoners has
been demonstrated by the tragic events of July and our London Stands
United campaign. This follows the launch, with the Mayor and the Red
Cross, of the London Bombings Relief Fund, which has now raised more
than £6m.”

This week the Standard announced its second major
round of cuts with the closure of its Metro Life listings supplement at
the end of the month, which will mean the loss of 12 jobs.

A month ago the paper revealed it was dropping breaking news from its website ThisisLondon and axing 10 editorial jobs there.

But Wadley has revealed that investment is planned for a major relaunch of the Standard in September.

She
said: “My aim is to give Londoners an even better newspaper and the
changes we are implementing are designed to help achieve that.

“Already
we have been able to build the sales of the paid-for newspaper while,
at the same time, introducing the free Standard Lite edition.

“We
will be announcing new writers and columnists who will be joining the
paper from September. We also intend to give our readers more
entertainment and listings information every day.”

ThisisLondon is to focus on entertainment and leisure content and much of the Metro Life content will transfer to the website.

The
Standard is also expected to beef up its City pages in September, with
a twice-weekly column from outgoing Daily Telegraph City editor Neil
Collins.

Standard managers are currently in discussion with the
12 affected journalists at Metro Life over the possibility of finding
them other jobs within the company.

Metro Life comes out on a Thursday and was launched in September 2002.

In
2003, the Evening Standard made a reported loss of £5m, but in the
annual report for 2004, its financial performance was said to be
improving as a result of cost cutting.

● For full ABC news and analysis, see www.pressgazette.co.uk on Friday at 12.30pm.

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