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Weekly opts for compact format after 105 years as a broadsheet

The Ulster Herald is changing to a compact format after 105 years as a broadsheet.

The move follows research which showed the overwhelming majority of its readers favoured the smaller size, and it will be published in its new format for the first time on Thursday.

Editor Darach MacDonald said: “Since we underwent a major redesign five years ago, we have had repeated requests from readers to adopt the compact format.

“Readers find the smaller size more user-friendly and it is certainly the style of newspaper production that reflects modern lifestyles.”

But he said the Herald was not just following modern trends.

Darach said: “Indeed, we have had practically no feedback that suggests that our readers want to retain the broadsheet format and there is almost an impatience for change.”

  • How the compact Ulster Herald will look
  • He said the new format was not just aimed a younger readers, but would be a winner with readers of all ages.

    He said: “That ranges right across age and class, including members of the local retired businessmen’s society, Probus, that many might assume would have members who would most oppose change in their local newspaper.”

  • The broadsheet Ulster Herald
  • The paper’s new size follows a complete redesign in 2001, which included new typography and bolder use of pictures and design features.

    At the time the idea of adopting the compact format was rejected as it was feared the move could be seen as “going downmarket”, and instead the broadsheet main section was accompanied by compact sport and entertainment insets.

    But Darach said this was no longer a concern.

    He said: “The entire newspaper market has changed remarkably since the start of the 21st century.

    “When you have newspaper such as The Times in London, the Irish Independent in Dublin and many more going to compact format, it has established that this is for reader comfort and convenience and has no bearing on the quality of the newspaper.

    “Great reads come in small packages nowadays.”

  • The Ulster Herald was launched in 1901. It is published every Thursday and has a weekly circulation of 12,247 (ABC July to December 2005).