The Tamworth Herald has unveiled a new “lighter” look.
This current edition of the Northcliffe-owned weekly boasts a new masthead, a cleaner design with more white space, and now comes in three sections, with property and classifieds separate to the main news.
The changes follow extensive reader research by the paper, prompted by a slight drop in sales.
The Herald’s current circulation is 28,159, down 1.2 per cent on the previous year. Although not a significant amount, this followed four years of consecutive increases in sales.
Editor Sam Holliday said: “We realised that, like stocks and shares, circulation can go down as well as up, and instead of thinking this was just a blip we decided to ask our readers.”
Research found that readers felt the Herald should “lighten-up” its news and production, and were being put off by its size, which reached up to 176 pages.
Sam said: “We found readers wanted everything we were giving them, but not in one big chunk.
“The other thing they were telling us was that there was too much heavy news and bad news which was not creating a good impression of the area.”
With that in mind, the Herald has introduced shorter stories and features, bigger pictures and more emphasis on good news and positive stories.
It also now has more reporters ‘on the beat’, more opinion and comment, a clearer letters page and Village Voice section and improved entertainment section.
The Herald approached Peter Sands from the Editorial Centre in Hastings, and told him to “challenge everything”.
Sam said: “Everyone at the paper has bought into it, taken the vision on and run with it.
“We’ve been quite brutal but I’m pleased with the end result. It’s been an exciting week.”