08 September 2009
Metro has the Life sucked out of it
MetroLife - the regionally tailored arts and culture section to be found lurking, somewhat (if I'm honest) out of place, in the middle of Associated Newspapers' freesheet Metro - took its last breath a little over a week ago. It passed away with barely a death rattle and I don't quite know why. It was a well-written, well-edited, well useful supplement in a, well, otherwise pretty dire product. A number of very good journalists now swell the ranks of those other very good journalists who have lost their jobs and shifts in recent months. Sigh.
Perhaps it's a sign of the economic slowdown/downturn/outright recession times in which we live (or perhaps it's just indicative of the London-centric industry in which we ply our trade - the main MetroLife office was based in Manchester; the rest of the satellite staff were scattered around the provinces), but the redundancies (of which there were around 30) didn't even shown up on the radar of most of the usually reliable sources of information on the goings-on in Medialand. Indeed, I don't seem to be able to find anything on the section's demise on holdthefrontpage.co.uk, journalism.co.uk or even mediaguardian.co.uk. Hmm.
However, there were some eulogies...
Jonathan Schofield of Manchester Confidential:
"Metro Life was produced by committed journalists who knew how to write and spell. There was quality control ... Of course there's always the web. But the problem is as free content gets poured onto the web, editorial professionalism disappears ... At Confidential we are an independent web magazine with a professional editorial team - but we are an exception to the rule. Most local web content is woefully under edited, often slapped up without anyone running a critical eye over it."
And from Kate Feld of Manchizzle:
"The Metro folks took their work seriously and were very progressive about including a really wide range of arts and culture ... it was often a thin slice of clued-up and enjoyable writing that seemed oddly out of place at the center [sic - Kate is American, so it's allowed] of a free newspaper that in terms of actual news value or readability pretty much deserves to get stepped all over on the floor."
As reported on How-Do, where W&F first got an inkling of what was going on: