21 November 2014

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Top-selling regional daily unveils makeover

The UK’s biggest-selling regional daily paper has unveiled a major redesign, with the number of stories on some inside pages reducing by around half.

The West Midlands-based Express & Star and its sister title the Shropshire Star are renowned for their high story count, with pages often sporting between 16 and 20 articles each.

However, the redesign will give more space to each story, reducing the overall number of articles.

The new-look pages have been introduced initially towards the back of the news section, with a view to rolling it out to the rest of the paper over the coming weeks.

The new-look version of the Express and Star, right, with the old layout on the left.

Keith Harrison, editor of the Shropshire Star and soon-to-be editor of the Express & Star, said the “subtle” changes had been well-received by focus groups and by readers.

“Our aim was to combine the traditional strengths of the paper with a fresher, more modern style, while at the same time keeping the character of the papers that readers are so familiar with,” he said.

“The designs allow us to offer more depth to stories and put high-quality photography at the heart of our pages.

“They were put together by a team of very experienced staff and we’re delighted with the response so far.”

Keith will take over the helm of the Express & Star from March, when long-serving editor Adrian Faber retires.

The Shropshire Star rebrand, again with the new version on the right.

12 Comments

  1. Ex-Star reporter

    Long long long overdue but welcome all the same!

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  2. Hammer time

    So it’s the ultimate paradox. How does something so ugly do so well?
    Or does it just mean everyone else is wasting their time on ‘design’?
    Discuss….

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  3. John Nurden, Kent

    Although a nicely designed paper pleases us journos, I’ve never heard a reader comment on it. They complain about “not enough stories” or “nothing local” which is why the Express & Star “cram it in” style is so popular. Sad but true for designers but not rocket science…

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  4. onlooker

    Hammer time – it’s all about content, not fancy design! When will newspapers learn?

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  5. The Big Exclusive

    I can appreciate how the ‘cram it in’ ethos gives readers a feeling of value-for-money (something you get with the Eye) but it comes at a cost.

    Firstly, Star reporters spend a hell of a lot of time desperately scratching around for crappy little nibs and shorts simply to fill space – and this is time they could have spent digging out real stories.

    Secondly, lots of perfectly good stories which deserve 300/400 words plus pics end up being chopped to nothing and missed by readers, just because a sub had a hole to fill on the page and had nothing else to fill it with.

    That’s very demoralising for reporters and often causes friction with your contacts too.

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  6. Hammer time

    @The Big Exclusive

    What are subs?

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  7. Former Journo

    I’m sorry but it looks the same to me.

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  8. GladImOutOfIt

    From experience, I agree wholeheartedly with The Big Exclusive. The odd thing though is that we were told that the story count edict came from the owner, not the editor, as did a ban on pictures larger than 16cm deep (has that changed too?) . And oh, those nibs! This cannot but improve things.

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  9. ends

    Er, that looks like someone’s turned the page.

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  10. Former E&S reporter

    The Big Exclusive has it spot on – one of the many things I hated about working on the paper. You spend ages on a good story, and it gets chopped to 3 pars in the front. Yet then you have to rehash and pad out a nib you wrote the week before just to fill out a 16cms gap. I still have nightmares….

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  11. Fencehopper

    Less stories = less journalists.

    Ta-da!

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  12. Oliver, Nottingham

    Fewer!

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