Two long-established weekly titles are switching from broadsheet to compact format as part of Johnston Press’s relaunch of its 170 paid-for titles
The Aylesbury-based Bucks Herald and the West Sussex County Times in Horsham will each make the switch at the end of this month.
The changes come as part of the relaunch of almost all JP’s paid-for titles which will see each of the papers redesigned around one of five templates.
In an interview withe HoldtheFrontPage last month, chief executive Ashley Highfield said: “Most of the broadsheets will move to compact but there may be exceptions.”
The County Times, which has been a broadsheet since its launch in 1869, announced the forthcoming change in a story published in yesterday’s edition.
It followed a long-running consultation with readers including an online referendum in which 90pc of the readers who responded backed the change.
A further printed questionnaire which was handed out to shoppers in Horsham town centre also resulted in a thumbs-up for the switch.
Editor Gary Shipton said the preference among readers in favour of the new shape was “overwhelming,” although the property section is to remain broadsheet at the request of estate agents.
“In each of the three research exercises, 85-90pc of readers and non-readers asked us to alter shape. They also gave us a wide range of suggestions as to additions we could make to the content of the paper,” said Gary.
“As a result, and with the benefit of being part of Johnston Press, we have commissioned some of the world’s top newspaper designers to deliver a look that is both classic and contemporary – and wholly appropriate for the Horsham district.
“The County Times is proud of its traditions and its values. These will not change. They are at the heart of everything we do. We are committed to our community and family beliefs which underpin us – as well as the highest journalistic standards of integrity.
“It is our intention, as ever, to give the people of the Horsham district the very best. I hope that existing readers will welcome the fact that we have listened very carefully to what they want – and new readers will enjoy the County Times for the first time.”
The Bucks Herald also announced its switch to compact after 180 years as a broadsheet in this week’s edition.
It will publish a final souvenir broadsheet paper next week which wiill look back at the “golden years” of the title from its first issue on Saturday, January 7, 1832 to the present day.
Editor Roger Hawes said: “This will be an exciting and defining moment for the Bucks Herald. Aylesbury Vale is changing. The town is growing at a very fast rate and modernising. The Bucks Herald needs to recognise and embrace these changes.
“The new paper will incorporate many of the traditional aspects of the area and remain truly local. But it will also recognise the growth in digital media and advertising and the expansion of online journalism.”