Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Dec. 7 issue City Life's last

From the NUJ...

Guardian Media have announced that City Life - Manchester’s entertainment and listing magazine - will publish for the last time on December 7. Thirteen journalists’ and designers’ jobs will go.

The magazine started as a workers’ co-operative in 1983 and was bought by Guardian Media in 1989. The company says that over the last four years it has lost around £1,000 per week. Last year Guardian Media regional made more than £30 million.

"We have to face up to the fact that we are in the advertising business, not the newspaper publishing business, and we have been for the past 20 year."
- Mark Dodson, new chief executive of Guardian Media Regional, at the meeting where he announced 48 job cuts and the closure of City Life.

Wow. One minute you have a magazine, the next you don't. Life's a bitch, eh?

Saturday, November 26, 2005

It’s Manchester. Read it. Live it .... Sod it.

I was first tipped off to City Life’s troubles with this email from the NUJ about a week ago (see below post.) I asked around and got the full story. Apparently the suits down at GMG HQ in London had been labouring away, blissfully ignorant of the fact that they owned a magazine in Manchester. But some astute employee finally followed the trail of haemorrhaging cash north to Deansgate. They acted fast – we hear that this next week’s issue may be the last.

Now, The Manchizzle knows some perfectly lovely people who work at Shitty Life, and the thought that these dear folks may soon be out of work is sad indeed. But one has to marvel at the kind of incompetence that could cause a relatively healthy listings magazine to lose readers, advertisers and money, dwindling to a shallow shadow of it’s former self, in a town where it had no competition. That’s right, a virtual monopoly on the listings mag game. Mancunians want a listings magazine. For fuck’s sake, we need to know what’s going on. But most of us had stopped buying City Life, confused or infuriated by the twice-monthly design changes, the schizophrenic editorial direction, the flabby, disengaged writing and rampant advertorials.

The only people left reading city life these days are a flock of 40-something women in Cheshire, the sort who talk too loud and drink too much, buy their pointy stilettos at the Trafford Centre and think true happiness is being on the list at Panacea. A few sad older blokes who think that Manchester’s music scene has been pure rubbish since the heyday of ________( insert choice here, e.g. The Hacienda, Simply Red, The Manic Street Preachers….) And the self-styled “cultural insiders” of Manc, those ego ridden men-in-the-arts, who will now no longer have a willing shill for all of their pet projects.

The magazine is going down because it fell out of touch with the people who made it possible in the first place – Mancs young and old who are creative, funny, self-deprecating, honest, independent, skint, innovative and up for it. Who are hungry for real life, and aren’t interested in reading thinly disguised ad-copy about facial treatments at luxury spas, or the life story of some idiotic quasi-celeb.

It’s sad every time a magazine dies in this day of media conglomeration. But we can console ourselves with the happy realization that we will never have to read another column by Tony Wilson.


From: NUJManchester Mailed-By: nuj.org.uk

Date: Nov 22, 2005 8:26 AM
Subject: Please save Manchester magazine from closure

City Life - a Manchester entertainment magazine that started life as a workers' co-operative - is in danger of being closed by Guardian Media.

A two-week review of the title's future is underway and the newspaper's staff - many of whom are members of the Nationaul Union of Journalists - are under threat of redundancy.

Please email protests to the chief executive of Guardian Media Regional on mark.dodson@men-news.co.uk - ask this apparantly liberal company to make every effort to save the magazine and the jobs of its workers.

Point out that as much of Manchester's economy is based on the leisure industry it takes particularly bad management to ruin the city's premier listings and entertainment magazine. It is unfair if the journalists - who only earn around £16,000pa - take the blame for this failure.

City Life is such a part of Manchester culture that it was mentioned on last night's Coronation Street!
If you read the Guardian or any of GMG's other products please point out that you expect this company, in particular, to treat its staff and readers with respect.

Please act quickly.
Please copy any protests and send messages of support to to nujmanchester@nuj.org.uk
Please pass this message on to anyone else who will be interested.
Many thanks
Miles Barter
NUJ regional organiser