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Newspapers switch to ‘reader-friendly’ tabloid format as publisher dumps broadsheets

Six regional newspapers are set to switch to tabloid because their current broadsheet format is “unpopular” with readers.

Scottish Provincial Press has confirmed the switch, which will take place at the Inverness Courier, Northern Scot and Ross-shire Journal next week.

SPP’s other broadsheets – the Northern Times, Caithness Courier and John O’Groat Journal – will also convert at the beginning of May, while the publisher’s existing tabloids will also switch to a new design.

The design work was undertaken by former Northern Echo editor Peter Sands, who worked closely with SPP’s in-house production team.

A dummy of the new Inverness Courier design

A dummy of the new Inverness Courier design

SPP editorial director David Bourn told HTFP: “Because of press constraints, the Courier and the rest of the broadsheets have had to be published in two different sections which we know has been unpopular with readers.

“Feedback from readers has also shown that they want their papers to be more reader-friendly tabloids so that is what we are giving them.

“For the bi-weekly Courier, it seems apt that this change is taking place as the paper celebrates its 200th anniversary.

“And although the paper will be smaller in size, we can promise a lot more news, views, sorts and features than ever before.”

The Courier will also feature a new lifestyle magazine called Seven Days in its Friday edition.

It will include entertainments news and listings, columnists, puzzles, food and drink, homes and gardens, property, travel and the Courier’s Active Outdoors section.

The stitched and trimmed supplement will be printed on enhanced newsprint and will also be inserted in the Northern Scot, Northern Times, Ross-shire Journal, John O’Groat Journal and the Strathspey and Badenoch Herald.

David added: “It’s an exciting time and it’s been a real challenge but we think we have managed to keep the essence of these wonderful newspapers while presenting them in a vibrant new format which will please existing readers, tempt lapsed readers back into the fold and, hopefully, attract some new ones.”

The Courier's current broadsheet design

The Courier’s current broadsheet design


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  • March 29, 2018 at 11:58 am

    In a strange way it reminds me of the days when at the MK Citizen we tried to save money by cutting a centimetre off the size of the paper. Now of course the cuts in the newspaper industry are evidently more severe.

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  • March 29, 2018 at 6:32 pm

    You’re not alone – both at a group of weeklies in the 1990s and a regional daily in the 2000s I was at page depths were decreased by 2cm on the basis that readers wouldn’t notice…

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  • March 30, 2018 at 8:09 am

    Yes I remember it well
    The commercial chief reckoned that by reducing the width of the columns they’d get more ads on a page, the yield would improve and revenues would increase without anyone noticing.
    it took less than a week before the first of the complaints came in,from advertisers who supplied camera ready copy, asking why their ad dimensions had changed and one big advertiser was told by a rep it was to get more ads on the page but ‘don’t worry, we’re not putting your rates up’
    The same rep is still there and is now an ad manager, presumably helping make or certainly agreeing with,the knee jerk policies which are dragging the company further and further into the mire today

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  • April 1, 2018 at 7:59 pm

    Sorry, but the new version is worse than the old one. Now it looks like any other generic, template-friendly regional tabloid newspaper. Is there no-one around with original ideas?

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