So it has come to this. London's sorriest "quality newspaper" is to become a freebie:
Editor Geordie Grieg told today's Channel Four News:
"Many things are free and make money - we hope for example that Channel 4 is one of them."We are going to remain a quality newspaper and that is what will make us attractive to advertisers."
Now Channel Four is free and it does makes money.
But it's lunchtime news bulletins? Not so much.
"Channel 4 is axing its lunchtime news bulletin and More4 News as part of a cost-cutting move that will lead to up to 20 job losses."
Whichever way you look at it, free news equals more job cuts and more news cuts.
The Evening Standard plans to survive, if it can, by sacking it's vendors, increasing adverts, and slipping in more 'unmarked advertorials' (see this gem called out by Private Eye)
In short they plan to survive by cutting costs, cutting quality, but increasing circulation
And they plan to do so after years of mega losses from London's freesheets.
For a man who bought the paper for just one pound last year (but who has since invested millions) it's a brave, possibly reckless, possibly idiotic move.
It also doesn't begin to solve what are long term, and chronic problems for the paper.
In recent months, the paper has tried hard to restore itself in our affections, but while the smell of sock has gone, the smell of out of touch London lingers on.
There are still good journalists at the Evening Standard
But sadly over the years they've been sidelined, by personal vendetta, and by the courting of a very small section of London society.
Bit by bit ordinary Londoners have deserted them, and now Grieg plans to win us back, by literally forcing the paper into our hands.
Whether this will allow them to survive financially remains to be seen, but whether it will ever be a truly "quality London paper" is sadly in greater doubt.
The "I'm free" and "Anything else?" images are by the ever-brilliant Beau Bo D'or. Head over to his place for more.