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New look for a new era at News Shopper

The News Shopper series has hit the streets with a fresh new look following a wholesale redesign of the paper.

Timed to coincide with the 40th anniversary of London’s oldest free newspaper next January, the redesign has seen the News Shopper’s old red-top image dropped in favour of a new masthead and front page layout (below).

Every inside page of the paper has also been redesigned to create more clearly defined sections.

Group managing editor Andrew Parkes said: “We’ve completely redesigned the paper from top to bottom and rebranded it. We now have consistency throughout.

“We have been stuck in time for a bit, it has to be said, but now we’ve brought the paper right up to date.”

The News Shopper conducted several months of market research involving questionnaires in the paper, focus group sessions at its head office with readers and advertisers, and discussion sessions in the local community.

Andrew said: “It was mainly qualitative research rather than quantitative. We had 2,600 replies to the questionnaire in the paper which I was very pleased with.

“It’s very difficult to extract comments on the design of the paper from readers but the main feeling was that the paper was very dark. The main message was to brighten it up.

“People said they loved it but it has been a number of decades since there was a major change. We’ve been very successful but the danger with that is that you can rest on your laurels and that is where you’re going to come unstuck.”

  • How the Shopper used to look
  • Andrew said the redesign was implemented before the paper’s official 40th birthday because it has planned so many other events involving readers and advertisers in January.

    He said: “Over the years we’ve developed at an astonishing rate. Success followed success and the newspaper went from strength to strength.

    “Fiercely proud of our roots, News Shopper has always sought to serve the community and as the people and businesses in the community have developed and grown, so has the newspaper.

    “Four decades have seen huge changes right across Shopperland and while the paper has always traded on its traditional values and proud history, the years have seen us develop into the number one regional newspaper.

    “After 40 fantastic years we felt the region’s award-winning newspaper deserved a new look for a whole new era.”

    The News Shopper began in 1965 when five men began an eight page paper. It now has 12 separate editions over its four circulation areas – Bexley Borough, North Kent, Bromley Borough and Lewisham and Greenwich.

    Each edition has a pagination of almost 200 and the paper boasts a weekly readership of nearly 700,000.

    • The News Shopper has also found “proof” that it is “the best local newspaper” in its area after an eagle-eyed reader spotted signs in houses in Sidcup which read: “No Free Newspapers Except News Shopper”.

    When asked about the signs, editor Andrew said he had no idea where they had come from but the Sidcup & Bexley edition of the News Shopper has subsequently printed a similar sign for readers to cut out and stick in their windows.

    Andrew said: “There are quite a number of them, and they’re professionally done as well – people have done them off their own backs. I couldn’t have manufactured something better myself!”

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    ©NEP 2004