TV's Corrie plugs City Life as rescue campaign grows

By Alyson Fixter

Manchester listings magazine City Life has been backed by local hero
Tony Wilson and namechecked on Coronation Street as part of a campaign
to keep it in circulation – but owner Guardian Media Group insists the
magazine will close.

The weekly title, launched as a workers’

co-operative in 1983,
was due to put out its last issue on Wednesday, despite union protests
outside GMG offices in London and a surge of citywide support in

The magazine appeared scene in Manchester-set soap
Coronation Street two weeks ago in a scene in which Roy’s Rolls was
named “best cafe” by the title.

Factory records founder Tony Wilson said he thought managers at the company were “brain dead” for closing the title.

who writes a column as the magazine’s “postmodern agony aunt”, told
Press Gazette: “GMG should look at the Manchester Evening News before
they try to save money by scrapping Manchester’s only listings magazine.

losses the magazine are making are tiny compared to the damage done to
Manchester by losing the title, but their lack of thought for the city
is nothing new. A lot of staff are going to lose their jobs before
Christmas – it’s appalling.”

NUJ members held a protest outside
the GMG offices in London on 2 December, asking for the decision to axe
the magazine to be reversed.

In a motion aimed at GMG the union
said: “We deplore the way the Manchester Evening News management
decided to close City Life after only a brief review period and cursory
consideration of other options. We call on you to protect group
resources by ensuring that local management is committed to quality and
not to a downward spiral of cutting costs, reducing standards and
declining revenues.”

A freelance working on the magazine said
that as well as 13 permanent editorial staff, there were 17 freelances
who would suffer from the closure of the title. He added: “GMG has so
far failed to offer any form of compensation to its regular freelances,
some of whom have edited sections of the magazine for up to 19 years.”

Dodson, chief executive of GMG’s regional division, said: “Our decision
was based on a thorough review of the magazine. After 15 years of
giving it TLC, we’ve tried everything possible to make sure this mag
can keep going.

“Our view now is that the listings magazine
format is wrong in the internet world, but it has a future on our TV
station and through the web.

“We will meet with the unions to
give our official response to their request, but I can tell you the
magazine will close, and we will try and redeploy staff as best we can.”

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