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Panpa Bulletin : February 2006
40 | PANPA BULLETIN February 2006 COVER STORY Editor David Fagan chose March 13, as the launch date -- the Monday before the Commonwealth Games begin -- saying it was a good idea to make a big splash around an event be- cause "people pay attention to news". Using one of the world's oldest newspapers, The Times, as a model, staff at The Courier-Mail decided on the classic tabloid size (approximately 38cm high x 26cm wide) to reach their audience in a more time-efficient manner. "We did research before we made the announcement in December and that feed back showed people liked what we were doing but wanted to see a conven- ient format," Mr. Fagan said. "The change will modernise the newspaper, making it more convenient for our existing read- ers and attracting new readers. "People are time poor. They want high-quality journalism and they want it in the sharpest, most convenient format. "Brisbane is a vibrant, rapidly growing city, and our readers want a rigorous, authoritative newspa- per in a form that's readily acces- sible and easy to read," he said. There is now a greater choice of media available to people wanting to know what is going on around the world, in their country and even their neighbourhood. The internet has become a major con- tender for their attention as it pro- vides information immediately, but cable and satellite television and mobile phones are also used as information sources, making the market that much harder for newspapers to reach. Many news- papers, including The Independ- ent and The Guardian in England and Wall Street Journal's European and Asian editions, have taken the plunge and gone compact, reaping the reward of increased readership along the way. "The experience around the world has been that the compact size has proved extremely popular and convenient with broadsheet readers, while at the same time being embraced by new readers," Mr. Fagan said. A big pay-off for newspapers that have changed to tabloid - or Berliner format in the case of The Guardian - has been the increased number of younger readers who prefer the compact editions' con- temporary feel with snappy head- lines and more briefs. Mr. Fagan conceded The Cou- rier-Mail's readership was not as strong as he would like in young people, women and new arriv- als to Queensland, but said he expected the compact edition to address this. "It's very easy for a newspaper not to be part of their lives and we want them to read it to know what's going on. We hope the new format will get that message across," he said. "We want to attract more read- ers, full stop. We hope, and expect, the circulation will increase." The newspaper's circulation has remained fairly steady over the past five years with Saturday sales around 330,000 (same as five years ago) and weekday sales at 210,000 (a two per cent drop on five years ago). The Courier-Mail will have a new body font, Times Classic, which Mr. Fagan said was "very efficient". This way the story count should stay as it is in the broad- sheet format. "I don't think the story count will decline," he said. "Some stories will be shorter, some will be longer. "The new design gives us more options. Sometimes the length of stories in the broadsheet were determined by design but in com- pact there will be more variation." The design of the newspaper, which is read by a fifth of Queens- landers and a third of people in Brisbane on a weekday, will also change along with the size. More colour is now available after Queensland Newspapers spent $32 million upgrading its printing presses to increase colour page The Courier-Mail goes compact Following the world wide trend to downsize Brisbane's only daily newspaper The Courier- Mail will relaunch in a compact format next month writes Johanna Baker -- Dowdell. (left to right) Jerry Harris, Queensland Newspapers managing director, and David Fagan The Courier- Mail editor, in the newsroom in December 2005 when they made the announcement to staff.