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Two-year tabloid plan comes to fruition

The culmination of two years of planning at Teesside’s Evening Gazette is set to be unveiled to its readers next week, when the paper is published in a compact format for the first time.

The broadsheet title is the latest in line to convert to the smaller format, following a £14.6m investment in a new press facility by owners Trinity Mirror.

The new press is capable of printing 128 pages of back-to-back colour.

Plans for the new format began in 2002, when reader research showed the overwhelming majority were in favour of the change.

Editor Steve Dyson, who joined the Evening Gazette in June 2002, was given a brief to transform the paper, and since then reader opinion has helped shape the re-design through interactive research sessions covering the masthead, front-page design, spreads, and features such as the letters page.

Two dummies were produced and refined after more research and feedback.

Steve said the challenge had been to maintain a familiar feel and personality, to the paper, but in an entirely different format.

He said: “”Our readers will be chuffed to bits on Monday, September 27 when they start buying a paper that is easier to handle and yet will still feel like the Gazette they love.

“They will still get a great read, they will still see the bigger picture through our columns and yet they will grow to like the paper even more because it will have more pages and more colour.”

The launch of the new format is being supported with a high-profile promotional campaign around the theme smaller size, bigger picture.

Newspaper sales and promotions director Lynn Melvin said: “We’ve created a really striking campaign to grab readers’ attention, seeking alternative ways of reaching our audience wherever possible.”

A new approach to in-paper advertising has also been adopted by the Evening Gazette, allowing its customers to choose their own slots, whereby they pay extra for ‘the best seats in the house’.

The system allows customers to view the slots available and book online.

Advertising Director Bob Cuffe said: “We’re selling space more like radio and TV, where you need to book early and pay the rate, to get the best slots.

“We’ve targeted our top 100 clients and important agencies in London, Manchester and Newcastle and the response has been superb.”

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