Posts Tagged ‘closure’

A newspaper’s last big story

February 6, 2016
The last edition of London's Evening News on 31 October 1980

The last edition of London’s Evening News on 31 October 1980

As this splash on London’s Evening News demonstrates, a newspaper’s last big story is its own demise. This front page was 31 October 1980. That day, the copytaster – the person who watches the news agency wires to spot any stories the paper should be carrying – was Robin Elias, and he was the first of the staff to know of the closure. It must have been particularly galling for a paper in its 99th year. Luckily for him, he got a job as night editor on ITV’s News at Ten and went on to become managing editor there.

It was a surprise reading that your paper would be closing from the Press Association! Yet, that may well be the situation many journalists are expecting at the moment as cost-cutting proprietors wind down their print editions in favour of digital.

Last issue of US picture weekly Life (29 December 1972)

Last issue of US picture weekly Life (29 December 1972)

The US picture weekly Life took a different tack to the Evening News, with no mention of the closure on the cover of its last issue (29 December 1972). However, this may well be because the cover was ready before the closure was announced by its owners, Time Inc. Instead, editor Hedley Donovan carried a full-page editorial on the weekly magazine’s closure on the first inside page.

Editor Hedley Donovan's final editorial on Life magazine's closure

Editor Hedley Donovan’s final editorial on Life magazine’s closure

As he says readers have reminded him, the magazine had not failed. It had, after all, lasted almost 40 years and been one of the biggest-selling titles in the US for that time.

Last issue of Rupert Murdoch's Today newspaper (17 November 1995) 

Last issue of Rupert Murdoch’s Today newspaper (17 November 1995)

Today took a similar tack to the Evening News with its closure in 1995. This would have been less unexpected, given that it had outlived its usefulness to Rupert Murdoch in helping him break out of hot metal in Fleet Street and into the electronic makeup era at Wapping. It was a paper with a short history – having been launched by Eddie Shah on 4 March 1986. Shah had won a vicious industrial relations battle against the NGA, the print union, in his Warrington freesheet newspaper group and then launched Today as a national colour tabloid using new technology. It had a target sale of 1.2 million copies, but rarely exceeded a third of this figure. One editor, David Montgomery, resigned after printing an apology to readers for the poor quality of the paper.

Promotional copy of the Sun inside the final issue of Today - with a message from Tony Blair

Promotional copy of the Sun inside the final issue of Today – with a message from Tony Blair

Murdoch wasn’t going to lose Today’s readers easily though and inside was a promotional copy of the Sun – complete with a top-of-the-page story written by Tony Blair and headlined ‘Why Labour readers are turning to the Sun‘. Today had taken a leftish editorial stance, while the Sun was traditionally rightwing, but switched allegiance when Blair established a rapport with Murdoch.

>>>UK newspapers


Maxim closes – but don’t mourn the gonners

April 4, 2009
Issue 4 of Maxim under editor Gill Hudson carried a CD-Rom on the cover

Issue 4 of Maxim under editor Gill Hudson carried a CD-Rom on the cover

Maxim has followed Arena into the great paper recycling bin in the sky. Well, it’s no surprise; the title had been dead on its feet for a couple of years. What is surprising is the health and breadth of the men’s lifestyle sector.

Back in 1985 there was nothing. As Brian Braithwaite, a former publishing director of National Magazines, said:

‘I was told quite positively in the mid-70s by the Men Who Must be Obeyed from America that men’s magazines were a dead duck. My attempt to produce more than one edition of Cosmopolitan Man [with Paul Keers, who was later to head the launch of GQ, as editor] in 1978 was quashed by top management to make way for yet another women’s title, Company.’

That was eight years before the debut of  Arena, which sparked today’s lifestyle titles – and James Brown’s reaction to them led to Loaded.

Today, there is FHM, Loaded, GQ, Esquire, Nuts and Zoo for the mainstream sector; Men’s Health, Men’s Fitness, Bizarre, Stuff and T3 taking a specialist slant;  and a raft of quarterly or biannual niche titles, from the recently launched Buck, to The Chap, Another Man, Blag, Fantastic Man, Man About Town, Notion and Wonderland.

Then, there are the freebies – Shortlist, Sport and (digital only) Monkey.

And, like any sector, men’s lifestyle is littered with bodies – Later, Cut, Deluxe, Eat Soup, Ego, Front, Ice, Mondo, Sky, Untold and Jack, to name a few.

So, don’t mourn the gonners, go out and buy The Chap and learn about Steam Punks; compare your moustache with the lads in Buck; see how many fewer nipples there are in FHM these days. Pip! Pip!

History of men’s magazines

History of Maxim

To see almost 500 magazine covers and pages, look out for my book, A History of British Magazine Design, from the Victoria & Albert Museum, the world’s leading museum of art and design

Popworld Pulp pops after 2 issues

April 19, 2007

The Brooklands/Channel 4 music weekly Popworld Pulp has closed after just 2 issues. It follows weekly So London, which lasted 3 issues last month. Were these guys after a record?