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Weekly unveils tabloid switch after 159 years

An independent weekly has unveiled a new compact design in response to what it says is reader demand after 159 years in broadsheet and other large formats.

When the West Somerset Free Press was first published in 1860, it measured 18 inches across and 24 inches deep – even bigger than the traditional broadsheet size of 15 inches by 22 3/4 inches.

But the Tindle-owned newspaper has now unveiled its first tabloid edition after readers requested a smaller size.

The new-look title has also added a new leisure guide, nostalgia section, puzzle page and TV guide as part of the revamp.


Bosses say the move was as a result of readers responses to how the paper might improve, the single most requested being a smaller compact size.

Other content improvements include a redesign masthead while existing features such as Homesearch, and Homes & Gardens have had a make-over.

Free Press editor Gareth Purcell said ‘We have listened to our readers, and we’ve acted. What hasn’t changed is our top priority – to deliver local news each week.”

Based in Williton with a second office in Minehead, the Free Press was founded in 1860 by Samuel Cox and the editorship remained in his family through four generations until 1969. It was bought by Sir Ray Tindle in 1980.

Gareth is pictured at the relaunch seated front with general manager/MD Simon Parsonson and Sales Manager Ria Rickward.