Caxton Newspapers, publishers of The Citizen, have launched a free
community newspaper aimed at the thousands of commuters who use metro
buses around the city of Johannesburg, writes Bate Felix.
The paper, called Citizen Metro, will provide bus commuters with a quick read and easily digestible information on news, sports and entertainment from around the world, said Greg Stewart, publisher of the Citizen and Citizen Metro.

Metro buses carry about 45 000 passengers daily. Stewart said the paper would target this economically active audience, since not many of them have the time to read papers regularly.

The paper is a tabloid size paper of t least 18 pages. Four of the pages will cover news, four other pages will focus on sports, predominantly soccer, and the rest will cover entertainment, lifestyle as well as a movie and TV guide, daily games and puzzles, including classifieds and advertisements.

“Citizen Metro is informative yet an easy read, it is user-friendly and ideal for the average 20-40 minute bus trip,” said Stewart.

Through this new publication, The Citizen hopes to grow it reader base. “This will be a brand extension, giving us the opportunity to promote The Citizen, grow and add on the market base,” Stewart said.

However, the paper looks a lot different from The Citizen in most aspect said Stewart. “Though sometimes they might share the same stories and front pages, the news content, focus, style and selection of news for the Metro are different”.

Also, it has it own dedicated staff lead by Steven Motale, the former political editor The Citizen who is now the editor of Citizen Metro.

Stewart is confident that advertisers, particularly retailers, will welcome the opportunity to reach this audience. Advertising in Citizen Metro is sold both separately and as an add-on option to The Citizen’s advertisers.

The paper will be delivered to the six Metro bus depots across Johannesburg. They will be carried by the first buses which leave in the early hours of the morning.

Citizen Metro will have an initial print run of 45 000, to accommodate the current commuter needs but will increase as required, said Stewart.