Staff at Metro's Manchester office have just been told to clean out their desks. They were responsible for Metro Life, the local arts and culture section that previewed gigs and club nights, art exhibitions and poetry readings and films, and ran book and restaurant reviews. I used to write for it myself, so I'm not claiming any sort objectivity here when I say that it was a often a thin slice of clued-up and enjoyable writing that seemed oddly out of place at the center of a free newspaper that in terms of actual news value or readability pretty much deserves to get stepped all over on the floor of the 142 or flap around in the wind with the empty crisp packets.
Under a series of editors (most recently the lovely Tamsin Curry, Lucie Davies and Ruth Allan) the section did a fine job of letting us all know about good things happening in town at just the right time. The Metro folks took their work seriously and were very progressive about including a really wide range of arts and culture, especially fringe and avant garde stuff that other local news outlets generally ignored.
In the last year things had started going downhill; Associated Newspapers laid off staff and kept on a skeleton crew from the Manchester and Liverpool offices to produce a thinner Northwest Metro Life section. They were trying to cover a wider area in less space with fewer people, thus quality and range understandably suffered.
So this news isn't really shocking, but no less disappointing. Associated Newspapers: I'm sorry that you don't think the people of Manchester and Liverpool deserve good cultural coverage. I'd threaten not to buy your newspaper, but, well... Anyway, I certainly won't have any reason to pick it up from now on. And neither will a whole bunch of other people.