Free London business newspaper City AM is closing its Friday print edition as City workers continue to prefer working from home to finish the week.
No jobs will be lost as a result, with the publisher saying print-first staff for example on the night design desk will be redeployed on Thursdays, creating a boosted print edition and doing more digital work. The team will also create new digital products for Fridays to fill the gap of the print newspaper.
The newspaper has just returned from an extended print break for Christmas having decided it was not commercially worth printing in the first week of January due to the train strikes.
The paper has responded to changing working trends following the Covid-19 pandemic, after which many City workers have continued to prefer working at home to bookend the week.
Mark Allan, the chief executive of property firm Landsec, told the BBC last week that new data shows the City of London remains “incredibly busy” between Tuesday and Thursday but Monday activity is at 50% to 60% of that level and Fridays are now comparable to weekends in how quiet they have become. This has even led to the acronym “TWAT” (for which City AM takes original credit) for people who only go into the office between Tuesdays and Thursdays.
City AM editor Andy Silvester told Press Gazette that despite the dip in office attendance on Mondays the paper continues to work as a commercial operation four days a week, even with rising print costs biting, with distribution on those days now back at almost 100% of pre-pandemic levels. However advertisers have become less keen on Fridays.
Silvester said in a statement: “As anybody can tell from the pubs and bars of the City, Thursday is the new Friday. With the world changing, and more people working from home on Fridays, it’s the smart move to focus on serving our readers online rather than in print.
“There was plenty of scepticism when we brought back the paper in September 2021 – but we’ve been thrilled with the response, and the paper is thriving on the first four days of the week. London may be changing but City AM will remain right at the heart of it – both in print and online.”
The boosted Thursday edition will contain an expanded lifestyle and sports section, saying this will “get City workers in the mood for the weekend”, as well as “star” columnist Sky News journalist Mark Kleinman.
New print and digital features being rolled out throughout January will include a weekly long-read interview with the City’s movers and shakers, a daily notebook from varying “characters” of the Square Mile, two new podcasts, and three revamped newsletters.
City AM launched in 2006 on Mondays to Fridays, leaving out the weekend because of its focus on business audiences commuting into the City.
Because of the sudden decline in these commuter journeys, City AM suspended its print operation in March 2020 at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. It remained digital-only until September 2021, following two delays to its print return that were also because of slow-to-return office workers.
The newspaper is now working its way back to its pre-pandemic daily distribution level as well as boosting its digital audience, which surpassed three million monthly visitors for the first time in February 2021.
City AM currently has an editorial staff of almost 30, including a new digital editor who began last week, former What Investment editor and assistant editor of the FT's Financial Adviser Samantha Downes.
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