City Life’s lobotomy

Manchester’s listings magazine, City Life, had a makeover recently following a process I sort of participated in. I was one of the subscribers lucky enough to be invited to a subsequently ignored focus group. All did not go well. The dummy had turned out to be just that, a dummy, with the group consensus being that the magazine had been lobotomised. Needless to say the editor, a Liverpudlian, went ahead anyway.

But why am I writing all this now? Well the cheeky Scouser’s only had the front to attack a reader on the letters page (missing for weeks, but still dominated by criticism) for using the obvious descriptor – ‘dumbed down’ – when writing in to defend yet another reader who’d been pasted by the editor for daring to criticise the new regime in a manner he regards ‘unreasonable’.

I’ve mentioned how Manchester’s declining older population is well served by the declining and conservative Manchester Evening News. City Life used to cater for an intelligent younger audience that included those who are actually driving the city forward, while continuing to reflect and promote all Manchester cultures. The new, mono-cultural City Life, simply fails in that task.

I don’t expect all the content to appeal to me, but magazines build circulation at the margins, creating a broad coalition of readers. In City Life’s case this should reflect the broad interests catered for by our great city. Yet editorial has been cut back in a way that has narrowed the magazine’s focus, and with that, its appeal. City Life, no longer strives to cater for all who enjoy Manchester and is now modelled on Heat rather than Time Out, so stuff like books, theatre and opera look increasingly out of place. Then there’s the bizarre placing of a new gossip column in the middle of the listings…
City Life’s lobotomy reversed: I was wrong#3……Vengeful tabloids……Manchester: Original-Modern……Whalley Range rant pays off

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