It covers a mix of local, national and international news, as well as a fairly hefty amount of business and financial reporting. It also has a tradition of extensive arts coverage.
It was owned by Associated Newspapers Ltd, a branch of Daily Mail and General Trust, until January 2009, when the Standard was taken over by Russian businessman and former KGB officer Aleksandr Lebedev – he paid £1 for a 75.1% shareholding. Associated Newspapers retains 24.9% of the shares in the new publishing company, Evening Standard Ltd. The sale followed declining paid circulation figures after the launch by News International of an evening freesheet, The London Paper, in July 2006.
Under the DM>, its political stance was right-wing and its tone was the same mix as the Daily Mail‘s of doom-and-gloom, end-of-civilisation stuff on the one hand and simpering over middle-class aspirational icons on the other. It also had a tendency to dismiss, or at least forget the existence of, the United Kingdom outside London and the Home Counties.
Initially, things appeared set to remain as they had been under the previous ownership. Lebedev was quoted as saying he was committed to the Standard‘s editorial independence, and the chairman appointed to head the new editorial committee set up in April 2009 to safeguard that independence was John Bryant, former Executive Editor of the Daily Mail.
On the other hand, the other two members named, Anthony Howard and Bill Hagerty, both had solid left-wing credentials – Howard is a former New Statesman Editor and Observer Deputy Editor, and Hagerty was once Deputy Editor at the Daily Mirror. And a new editor was appointed, Geordie Greig, who had previously been editor of Tatler magazine.
Greig relaunched the newspaper in May 2009 with a new masthead, after a series of posters with the headline “SORRY” in the Standard‘s headline typeface, apologising for previous editorial shortcomings (though without mentioning the Standard by name).
On 2 October 2009 an editorial announced that the Standard would become a freesheet, “the first quality newspaper in the world to go free”, from 12 October 2009.
Greig was succeeded as editor by Sarah Sands in March 2012.
The editorial offices are at Northcliffe House in Derry Street in Knightsbridge, home to both DM> and to Lebedev’s other newspaper company in the UK, Independent Print.
An e-edition’s available free on the website, although you have to go through a bit of a palaver to sign up for it. An iPad app of the full print edition is also available, as are a paid-for Kindle edition and free news apps for iOS, Android and BlackBerry mobile devices.