Covid has changed the working week to such an extent that Friday is now the nation’s favourite ‘WFH’ day and there’s little point in doing distribution if there’s no one there to pick up your paper.
Urban freesheets like City AM, The London Evening Standard and Metro have managed to continue to stay in print despite the inexorable rise of digital channels over recent years.
But now, with daily commuting firmly in retreat, the Golden Age of Print Journalism is facing a challenge which could finally prove fatal.
Whilst this might be welcomed in some quarters on the grounds of sustainability factors, it’s worrying with respect to the future of quality and diversity of journalism.
Anything which further compromises the future revenue prospects of the media also, by extension, makes the viability of good journalism more precarious and will increasingly polarise the dissemination of news.
City AM, Metro and The Standard may not be the stuff of which Pulitzer prizes are made, but they are all solid news platforms and a step-up from the grisly click-bait that pervades many of their online peers.
However, at a time when it feels like the Duke of Sussex would be quite happy to preside over a bonfire of just about every UK paper in print, and the rail unions are doing their best to make train travel even more unattractive than it was, it’s a hard time for the hard copy titles which catered for the commuting public.
It’ll be interesting to see if a trend which has started with a free-sheet may now spread to other mainstream titles.