Paper cuts

Evening Standard axes third of workforce as Covid bites

Evening Standard

Free paper relies on commuters

The Evening Standard is axing 115 jobs, a third of its staff, as the London paper looks to cut costs amid a collapse in advertising revenue.

The free paper, owned by the Russian oligarch Evgeny Lebedev, has been hard hit by the absence of commuters on which it relies to pick up copies around the city.

It is making a marked shift to online news coverage. Of the staff leaving, 69 are in editorial.

Advertising accounts for 80% of its revenues and it was already struggling before advertisers halted spending during the lockdown. In March it recruited an army of distributors to deliver papers, reducing its 400,000 distribution by half.

The paper has run up losses of £40m over the last three years and in April announced a 20% pay cut on some of its staff.

In June, Emily Sheffield was named as editor, succeeding former Chancellor George Osborne, who moved to the role of editor-in-chief. She is the sister of former prime minister David Cameron’s wife, Samantha.

An Evening Standard spokesperson said: “The proposed restructuring under way at the Evening Standard is a result of the difficult market conditions that have affected the entire media industry over recent times; these challenging conditions have been further accentuated by Covid-19.

“However, the changes also reflect the evolution of the Standard’s business priorities which are being defined by the changing behaviours and demands of our readers and customers.

“Under the new management team the Evening Standard will be focused on building its digital and mobile offering alongside print, whilst also developing a live events business with other new initiatives to be announced.”

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