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New press eases Chronicle's compact switch

One of the country’s oldest weekly papers is switching from broadsheet to compact format.

The Chester Chronicle is due to relaunch on Friday.

The new compact has been made possible by parent company Trinity Mirror’s manufacturing strategy, which has seen printing of the paper transferred to the group’s new £60m colour press in Birmingham.

In preparation for the change, the Chester Chronicle – and its sister paper the Flintshire Chronicle – switched production to the centre at the beginning of this year.

This has improved reproduction quality, and means the Chronicle now benefits from full colour, increasing its appeal to readers and advertisers alike.

Readers will get the new package for the first time this Friday. It will comprise a compact main news jacket, pull-out leisure guide and listings, compact classified section and broadsheet motors and property supplements.

The relaunch was led by Trinity Mirror Cheshire’s editor-in-chief, Eric Langton, with input from the divisional editorial team and executives from other Trinity Mirror titles in the North West.

His team worked closely with Darren Thwaites, the editorial development manager for the regionals division, to develop new content ideas.

And design editor Gary Bainbridge, the man behind the successful redesign of the Liverpool Daily Post, worked on the Chronicle’s new look.

Eric said: “We have a winner. We have retained the best of our traditions but added lots of new ideas and our new look makes everything much easier for the readers to find their way around.

“This has been a real team effort, with the group, divisional team and sister newspapers all playing their part.

“The Chronicle is a big newspaper and research confirmed that some readers found it difficult to handle. We have tested the new look and new content with our readers and had a fantastic response.

“The emphasis will be on more community news, more grassroots sport and definitely more stories about the successes and triumphs of people in our community.

“We are used to winning awards but the most important thing for the staff is to win the hearts of our readers.”

The paper, established more than 200 years ago, is localised in seven editions, including the Flintshire Chronicles. These include Chester City and Country editions, and Chronicles for Wirral, Frodsham & Helsby, Deeside, Flint & Holywell and Mold & Buckley.

The Chronicle has picked up four national awards for best weekly newspaper in the last 10 years.