Three Johnston Press weekly titles are preparing to scrap their long-standing broadsheet formats to go compact as part of the regional publisher’s relaunch programme.
The Berwick Advertiser and sister titles The Berwickshire News and The Southern Reporter will take on a new tabloid size on 21 March after research with readers showed they backed the change.
They are being given a new design in the third phase of Johnston Press’ relaunch programme which began last month and has seen the West Sussex Gazette retain its broadsheet size.
The Advertiser has been a broadsheet for more than 200 years, while the other two titles have published in the format for more than 150 years.
Phil Johnson, editor of the two Berwick-based titles, said: “We did a survey about a year-and-a-half ago with our readers and the results came back loud and clear that our readers would like us to go into a compact format. We are giving the readers exactly what they want.
“Lots of newspapers have gone compact in recent years so it is the way that the industry is going.
“The design is going to change as well and we have some new content ideas, some of which will come out in the new tabloid and others will be dripped in over the course of the spring and summer.
“It will freshen it up and I am sure it will evolve, with us continuing to make changes.”
He said changes to be introduced in the titles included bigger sports sections, new columnists and the launch of food and drink and puzzles pages.
The three papers have all published articles to inform readers about the upcoming redesigns.
The Southern Reporter’s piece about the relaunch said: “It’s the end of an era, however, the move from broadsheet to compact is not something we are undertaking lightly, but follows extensive research with the public, who whole-heartedly supported the change.
“The new compact, which will also benefit from an extensive redesign, will be easier to handle and more suited to current lifestyles.
“Despite the change in appearance, the newspaper’s traditional values and unrivalled coverage of news, sport, information and advertising will continue to be delivered to the people of the Borders.”
Other Johnston Press titles to be relaunched include the Milton Keynes Citizen, which will unveil its new look on Thursday (28 Feb), and the Leamington Spa Courier which will be revamped next week
Johnston Press’ relaunch programme started last spring with the announcement that it was switching five daily newspapers to weekly publication and redesigning all its titles.
The programme was due to be completed by last November last year but chief executive Ashley Highfield announced it was being delayed until early this year to ensure its journalists had the right tools for the job.