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Last Updated: Thursday, 7 October, 2004, 11:40 GMT 12:40 UK
New format for Western Mail

By Jon Gower
BBC Wales arts and media correspondent

Two people compare the change in the Western Mail's style
The long and short of the Western Mail's changing shape

A new-look compact Western Mail has gone on sale after abandoning its broadsheet format.

The paper takes its place next to a rising number of newspapers such as the Independent and Times which have opted for a smaller format.

But Wales' self-proclaimed national newspaper insists it is not slavishly following a trend, and there have been plans to go compact for a long time.

When it asked readers what sort of paper they wanted to read, over 90% said they wanted something smaller.

The new compact version will have more pages. The old broadsheet had 24 pages, while the new-look paper will have as many as 70.

It's a bubbly bright paper that has intelligent and fun writing in it
Deputy Editor Neil Bennett

The paper's editor, Alan Edmunds, hopes it will also have a bigger personality.

"We're trying to make sure it reflects 21st Century Wales," he said.

"Since we opened the new press 18 months ago we've got colour pages - we reflect Wales as it is now."

He added that there were a number of advantages in making the newspaper smaller.

He said: "I think it's more than just the change in size making it easier to handle. It's also easier to navigate through the paper.

"We're able to increase the variety of stories in the paper because the extra pages give you extra platforms, so there are in fact a lot more items in the paper."

Alan Edmunds
Editor Alan Edmunds has steered through the change

With a circulation currently standing at 44,000 sales on weekdays, The Western Mail is seeking to widen its audience, with an emphasis on targeting young families.

Deputy editor Neil Bennett thinks that changing the image as well as the format is a positive move.

"Instead of the classic grey Western Mail, which is still the perception out there, it's a bubbly bright paper that has intelligent and fun writing in it," he said.

The frequency of purchase is an ongoing problem for the paper.

They want to get people buying it not just some days but every day, and need to give them a reason to do so.

By the time they survey their readers again in the New Year, they hope they will have given them enough reasons.




SEE ALSO:
Welsh paper to turn tabloid
09 Aug 04  |  Wales
19th Century news going online
11 Jun 04  |  Technology
Tabloid transformation
29 Sep 03  |  Business
Scotsman downsizes Saturday paper
04 Mar 04  |  Scotland
Broadsheet shrinks with the Times
21 Nov 03  |  Business


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