London’s Evening Standard newspaper is set to become a free publication, a move that marks a significant shift in the UK’s newspaper industry. This decision follows the paper’s purchase by former KGB spy Alexander Lebedev earlier this year. The Evening Standard’s circulation is expected to double to 600,000 copies, equal to its peak in the 1980s.

The newspaper’s transition to a free model is a response to the rise in free newspapers and online news, which have eroded the paid-for market. The Evening Standard, however, will maintain its quality journalism, distinguishing it from other free titles.

The change in strategy also comes with a significant reduction in staff, with around 20 out of 50 subeditors expected to lose their jobs. Additionally, some sections of the paper, including the popular ES magazine, will become smaller.

The move to a free model will be watched closely by other newspaper publishers, as it could signal a new way forward for the industry. It also raises questions about the future of paid-for newspapers in the face of increasing competition from free and online sources.

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