Thursday, February 23, 2012

Burlington | Say farewell to another broadsheet; new ‘tall tab’ will feature magazine-style format

Vermont’s Burlington Free Press will switch to an all-color “tall” tabloid format this summer, becoming the latest Gannett paper to shave costs on pricey newsprint as the company continues hunting for ways to reduce overhead.

In a story yesterday -- exceptional for its balanced coverage -- the paper said work had already begun on rebuilding its press so it could print at a size of 11 inches wide and 15 inches high beginning in June.

That’s smaller than current conventional broadsheets, which are typically about 12 inches by 22 inches.

Burlington’s switch follows plans by The Cincinnati Enquirer to adopt an even smaller size by the fourth quarter: 10 ½ inches by 14 2/3 inches.

Publisher Jim Fogler told the paper that both the new format and a new subscription model for print and digital would be launched at the same time. The number of stories that can be viewed online before requiring a subscription has yet to be determined, however.

Magazine-style stories
In a national “town hall” meeting for GCI employees broadcast yesterday, U.S. newspapers division President Bob Dickey said the subscription approach is taking place at all 80 locations. The number of free stories before a subscription is required will range from five to 15 stories per month, the Burlington paper quoted Dickey saying.

“ will continue to break news and post regular updates,” the paper said, “while the print newspaper will take a deeper dive into investigative reporting and narrative stories, often with magazine-style in-depth pieces and large color photographs.”

Work on the newspaper’s 45-year-old five-unit Goss Metro-Offset press is expected to be done by the end of April.

Expert: caution ahead
GCI newspaper coverage of moves like this typically read like press releases, unfortunately.

But Burlington’s story by Dan D’Ambrosio wisely included the following mildly opposing view, from David Mindich, professor and chairman of the media studies, journalism and digital arts department at St. Michael’s College in Colchester, Vt.:

“A well-designed tabloid can look great,” Mindich told the paper. “My concern with the tabloid format is that one of the things we go to newspapers for is a sense of hierarchy. So I hope that the Free Press preserves the editors’ prerogative to establish a hierarchy in terms of the importance of news.”

In a tabloid, he said, “often times, you have just the one story or two, you don’t have this intricate, sometimes beautiful balance of stories on the front page.”

By the numbers: circulation
Burlington’s Monday-Saturday: 31,095; Sunday, 40,708

No comments:

Post a Comment

Jim says: "Proceed with caution; this is a free-for-all comment zone. I try to correct or clarify incorrect information. But I can't catch everything. Please keep your posts focused on Gannett and media-related subjects. Note that I occasionally review comments in advance, to reject inappropriate ones. And I ignore hostile posters, and recommend you do, too."

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.