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Weekly set to go compact on fourth anniversary

A weekly newspaper owned by a peer will make the switch from broadsheet to compact format next month as it celebrates its fourth anniversary.

The Wear Valley Mercury, based in County Durham, will have a relaunch on 3 September and along with the size change, the paper will be completely redesigned with a new masthead.

It is a sister publication to the 156-year-old Teesdale Mercury, owned by Lord Barnard, with both papers printed in-house at Barnard Castle, where they are produced in black and white because of the age of the Heidelberg press.

But with the relaunch of the Wear Valley Mercury, spot colour will be introduced to the front and back pages, with an eye-catching black and red masthead.

Editor Adrian Braddy said: “Since the Mercury was launched back in 2006, readers and advertisers have appreciated our comprehensive reporting of local news and sport.

“However, many have commented that the broadsheet format of the paper makes it difficult to read.

“After giving the matter some considerable thought, we have decided to give the paper a more modern, easy-to-read look and feel.

“While the size of the paper is changing, we will be doubling the number of pages and there will be more news, sport and pictures than ever.

“Many people now perceive ‘broadsheet’ newspapers to be old fashioned and cumbersome. But the Wear Valley Mercury is one of the country’s youngest papers and we do not feel its size and appearance truly reflect the content.”

The new-look paper will be around one inch narrower than the standard tabloid size because of the capacity of the printing press.

Deputy editor Phil Hardy said the commitment of the paper to grass-roots reporting would remain unchanged.

He added: “We will continue to report on every aspect of life in Wear Valley. The package may look different, but what is inside will not change.

“All the elements that have made the paper a success will be retained and we will be adding new features over the coming months.”

  • The new-look version of the paper which is due to hit the streets next month.
  • The old broadsheet version of the paper is soon to be replaced.