NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

Press and Journal newspaper goes tabloid on Mondays

Tabloid Monday Press and Journal
Image caption The Press and Journal newspaper dates back to 1747

The disappearance of traditional broadsheet newspapers may have come a step closer after the Aberdeen-based Press and Journal changed its format.

The paper, which sells extensively across the north and north east of Scotland, will be published on tabloid-sized newsprint on Mondays from now on, but will remain a broadsheet on other weekdays for now.

The Press and Journal - which dates back to 1747 - has had a Saturday tabloid edition for seven years.

In an editorial which offered a clear hint the broadsheet format may eventually be abandoned completely, the newspaper said it was giving readers "a chance to get a feel for the small version of the newspaper while still receiving serious coverage of all the news, sport and business".

Until the middle of the last decade, serious Scottish and UK newspapers retained the traditional broadsheet format without exception.

But The Scotsman, The Times and The Independent all adopted tabloid formats, sometimes described as "compact" formats to avoid the implication that the change was a move downmarket. The Guardian and The Observer cut the size of their pages too.

Although many readers responded well and found the new format appealing, there is little evidence that changing the size of the pages is helping the press turn the long-term tide of falling sales.

Less dramatic

Just before it became a tabloid in 2004, The Scotsman sold around 70,000 copies a day - now the figure is barely 40,000. Over the same period The Times has dropped from 660,000 to 440,000, The Independent from 250,000 to 176,000 and The Guardian from 380,000 to 256,000.

The Daily Telegraph and The Herald remained broadsheets. The Telegraph has dropped from 900,000 daily sales to 622,000 while The Herald has fallen from around 83,000 during the first half of 2004 to 48,465 last month.

Interestingly, sales of the Press and Journal - which prides itself on the depth of its coverage of the north east of Scotland and the Highlands and Islands - dropped nowhere near as dramatically as those of Scottish and UK national titles over the same period - from 88,000 to 73,000.

Although the serious press came to be known as the broadsheet press, until relatively recently some popular national titles were printed on broadsheet paper. The News of the World was a broadsheet until the 1980s and the Sunday Express only changed format in the early 90s.

The Courier in Dundee, which like the Press and Journal is owned by DC Thompson, remains a broadsheet.

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