Most Labour people have never had a soft spot for the Evening Standard, London’s Evening paper. It was not for nothing that Neil Kinnock in the 80s said that it should be recipient of the “one-legged chicken award for balance”. More recently Ken Livingstone christened the rag the “Evening Boris” for their covreage of the mayoral race and now on their website of today they have a story that equates Amy Winehouse’s state of mind with some rubbish dumped outside her Camden pad. Scrabbling around in famous people’s bins for a story really is scraping the barrel.

Last week in a first year sociology lecture I did on “the mass media”, we featured an input from distinguished Professor of Journalism, ex-Independent, ex-Observer and current New Statesman columnist Brian Cathcart who outlined what he called the “vanishing newspaper theory” in a video killed the radio star way, as he explored the relationship between the press and the web. We have a situation where the Audit Bureau of Circulation registers plummeting circulations and if sales stabilise editors hold a party. Readers are bribed to remain with endless give-aways. If this is the best the Standard can do while they are challenged all all sides including freebie papers in the capital, they deserve to have readers leaving in droves.

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