With a steadily rising circulation and a wealthy owner – Russian billionaire Alexander Lebedev – UK free daily The Evening Standard seems to be sailing into a bright future.
Recently, however, some problems have become apparent at the free London evening newspaper (circulation 700,000).
First of all there has be criticism on the pro-Boris Johnston content of the paper. The London mayor is a good friend of Evgeny Lebedev’s, the owner’s playboy son and also chairman of the newspaper group (Evening Standard, the Independent and the cheap ‘I’ paper).
Johnson and his sister Rachel frequently appear on the paper’s society pages while editor Sarah Sands has written interviews with the mayor, in a tone described as “uncritical” by commentators according to International Business Times.
The newspaper backed Johnson in his two mayoral election campaigns. Columnist Brian Sewell wrote in Press Gazette that “there is a danger that it becomes Boris’s newspaper – his newssheet”.
The second problem is financial, as all three newspapers and the website London Live have to be integrated in the near future, it will be “the start of a considerable period of change and reorgansation” according to the management.
The third problem is a PR-issue concerning columnist and art dealer Charles Saatchi who publicly assaulted his wife Nigella Lawson, although he called it “playful tiff“.
The e-paper version of the Eevening Standard can be viewed here.