AddThis SmartLayers

Weekly switches to tabloid after 162 years

A north-east weekly newspaper has followed in the footsteps of its sister daily by downsizing from broadsheet to tabloid.

This week’s edition of the Darlington and Stockton Times is in a new compact format for the first time in 162 years and follows The Northern Echo’s same switch just over two years ago.

The North Yorkshire version has also been split into two covering Richmond and Dales, and Hambleton.

Times editor Malcolm Warne said the switch to a new size had been on the drawing board for a year and came about after research among the paid-for title’s readers.

“The Northern Echo has made a successful conversion and I’m sure editor Peter Barron had the same concerns about its traditional readers and The Echo going downmarket,” said Malcolm.

“The same argument could apply to the D&S. It is fair to say that when we first discussed the issue I was sceptical about it. I thought the D&S readers would be more fearful of the change.

“In fact, the research we carried out over a full year proved that perceptions about tabloid or compact formats have changed quite dramatically.

“I was genuinely surprised at how few people among traditional readers said we could not do it, or that it would be beyond the pale.

“The more people I talked to, the more convinced I became that it was a good move to make.”

The paper started life on 2 October 1847 and was called the ‘Darlington and Stockton Times, and Barnard- Castle, Richmond, Auckland, Middlesborough (sic), Hartlepool, Teesdale and Swaledale Journal.’

After three months in its original home of Barnard Castle, it moved to Darlington. When future Tory leader William Hague was elected MP for Richmond in 1989, a special edition of the Darlington and Stockton Times marked both the first time the paper was published on a Friday instead of Saturday and included news on its front page.

The front page then continued to carry ads until the 150th anniversary in 1997.