Honey, I shrunk the Herald

There has been widespread speculation recently that the weekday version of the New Zealand Herald would be moving to a compact format and APN New Zealand has confirmed that’s the case, with a date set for September 2012. And, as its print product changes, it will also be redesigning its major digital property nzherald.co.nz

“This is an exciting time for The New Zealand Herald,” Martin Simons, chief executive of APN New Zealand said in a release. ”We’ve been testing the concept with our readers and had excellent feedback that demonstrates a clear demand for a weekday compact. The new design allows us to improve the way we integrate and deliver weekday news and information across both the compact format and our digital offering, nzherald.co.nzvia the web, tablet and smart phone.”

  • We’re booked in for a chat with Simons later on today, so stay tuned. 

The release says the multi-media New Zealand Herald brand is “constantly considering ways to improve the delivery of high quality journalism and content to New Zealanders” and the compact format—as well as new content and design across the print and digital platforms—has been under consideration for some time. 

Given the success of the tabloid Herald on Sunday, the only newspaper in New Zealand to record an increase in circulation and readership in the last round of numbers, the shrinking seems to make sense. But despite the fact tabloid refers to a size of paper, it does comes loaded with preconceived notions of the type of content that might feature inside. And, given the various enquiries currently taking place into the media ethics in UK—and particularly among the ‘red tops’—at the moment—the timing is interesting. 

To assuage fears the smaller size paper would affect the quality of the content, APN has said an increase in the number of pages means editorial space will not decrease, and there will be more columnists, new pages and sections, and a reinforced focus on investigative journalism.

The Weekend Herald, which recently took newspaper of the year at the Qantas Media Awards, will remain in its present broadsheet format, as APN believes that layout is more suited to a leisurely read at the weekend. 

Ahead of the launch in September, the paper will continue an extensive consultative process with readers, advertisers and other stakeholders to test design concepts, new content development and integration with existing digital platforms.

“We are committed to the ongoing delivery of quality journalism and the new format allows us to explore creative ways of delivering New Zealanders the news and information they require. We look forward to revealing the new look weekday Herald in September and marking another important milestone in The New Zealand Herald’s 150 year history.”

In Australia, Fairfax has announced it will be moving some of its big mastheads to a smaller format, but at this stage at least, the New Zealand arm of Fairfax doesn’t look like following suit.  

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