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The Guardian to go tabloid

By | Published on Wednesday 14 June 2017

The Guardian

The Guardian and sister paper The Observer are to become tabloid-sized publications from next year as part of wide-ranging cost-cutting plans at the newspaper group.

When other UK broadsheets like The Times and The Independent went tabloid in the mid-2000s – partly because The Kids couldn’t cope with all the paper that comes with the broadsheet format – The Guardian decided to opt for the Berliner size, half way between broadsheet and tabloid, because it looked kinda cool.

But that involved buying and running bespoke printing presses at a time when newspaper revenues were plummeting, as print sales went into steep decline and publishers struggled to generate revenue around their large online audiences.

Guardian Media Group will now offload its Berliner presses and instead pay Trinity Mirror to produce its printed editions as a good old tabloid, or “compact” as tabloid broadsheets like to say, given the content and style connotations that come with the word ‘tabloid’.

GMG CEO David Pemsel said: “This is an important step in our three-year transformation plan. More people are reading and supporting our journalism than ever before, but the print industry continues to evolve, and we must evolve with it. We plan to continue the Guardian’s record of producing bold, brilliantly designed award-winning journalism”.

The paper’s Editor Katharine Viner added: “The Berliner is a beautiful format which has served our readers brilliantly for twelve years but we know that it is our award-winning, quality, independent journalism that our readers value most, rather than the shape or the size of the newspapers. We are going to create a new-look tabloid Guardian and Observer that are bold, striking and beautiful – and which still contain the agenda-setting journalism for which we’re renowned”.

Although The Guardian has a vastly bigger audience online than ever did in print – even in the heyday of print newspapers – it, like all newspaper owners, has struggled to generate decent revenues via its website. To date The Guardian has resisted dabbling with a paywall and charging for access to its articles online, a route an increasing number of broadsheets are now going as newspaper publishers remain disappointed with the level of ad income.