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Panpa Bulletin : February 2006
February 2006 PANPA BULLETIN | 41 COVER STORY potential by 50 per cent. "We'll have more colour in the paper. "We're bringing in more signposting from page one right through and we want to get the newspaper and the website inter- acting more in a symbiotic way.'' There will also be an increase in sports pages and a strong daily lift-out in the middle. The Courier-Mail is published by Queensland Newspapers, which became part of News Limit- ed with the takeover of the Herald and Weekly Times group in 1987. Managing director Jerry Harris said The Courier-Mail would con- tinue to invest in journalism and the quality of the printed prod- uct. "South-east Queensland is the economic powerhouse of the country, attracting a lot of suc- cessful professionals and small business owners as well as young families with children and sea changers from Sydney and Mel- bourne," Mr. Harris said. It has been more than two years since The Times took a sim- ilar step and went compact and its sales have increased year-on- year for the past 22 consecutive months. Times spokeswoman Anoushka Healy said the news- paper made the decision to go compact to evolve and become a paper that was relevant to an in- creasing number of readers. "We knew from research that whilst people loved Times journalism the format was a lit- tle intimidating and it meant that people, especially younger people, were not tempted to buy it," Ms Healy said. "We have seen a growing number of younger readers as well as more women. We have seen a dramatic increase in the number of business people read- ing The Times and in 2005 The British Business Survey revealed that 95 per cent more business- people were reading The Times than the Financial Times. "Another change was the fact that people have been buying the compact more frequently than the broadsheet. Where once peo- ple were buying the paper two or three times a week, now they buy the paper four or five times a week," she said. The design of The Times also changed to accommodate its new size, but no sections were lost. "We have worked hard on cre- ating a paper that uses to the best advantage the new format. This has meant looking differently at the way we present stories using graphics and photograph," Ms Healy said. The gamble paid off for The Times with readers accepting the compact edition and it recently won a major award. "The feedback has been very positive. At the time of the change we had letters from readers, who were very loyal to The Times, saying they weren't sure if they'd like the shape, but because they liked our journalism they would try it," she said. "Our circulation figures show our readers stayed with the paper and several of the relatively few who did leave because they didn't like the format wrote back months later to tell us that they were com- ing back to The Times as it wasn't the shape that mattered it was the journalism that counted." At the end of 2005 The Times was named Newspaper of the Year, with the judges saying it had "become a very confident paper which was now very strong across a range of categories - journal- ists, feature writers, stories and scoops". The judges felt that The Times "stands out as a dynamic paper and has proved that size is not the most important thing -- good stories are," Ms Healy said. Courier-Mail readers have been offering feedback since the December announcement, Mr. Fagan said, and have been kept up to date with developments through the newspaper and on the website, www.couriermail. com.au. Advertisers and news- papers were also invited to par- ticipate in the change through forums and regular feedback. The Courier-Mail's new format is the latest step in a rejuvenation pro- gram during the past year, includ- ing the launch of colour magazine QWeekend on Saturdays, im- provements to CARSguide, Week- end Shopper and real estate on Saturday, as well as the launch of new sections Money and You and Business Owner. A marketing campaign in- troducing The Courier-Mail's new compact format to readers will begin a few days before the launch and staff plan to focus on getting the newspaper into as many new and different places as possible. The cover price will re- main at $1 weekdays and $1.80 on Saturdays. "We'll be marketing it very strongly with the message it's a paper you need to read," Mr. Fagan said. The Essentials > The compact Courier-Mail launches on Monday, March 13 > It will be a classic tabloid size > The newspaper began as the Moreton Bay Courier in June 1846 but became The Courier-Mail when The Courier and The Daily Mail merged in August 1933 > The Courier-Mail's circulation is 330,000 on Saturdays and 210,000 on weekdays > It won PANPA Newspaper of the Year in both 2003 and 2004 and the PANPA Award for Excellence in a broadsheet newspaper in 1996 The Courier-Mail design team