Phew! Smaller IS better

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Editors’ blog: We’ve received the first bits of market research about the tabloid Examiner and it’s looking very good.

Sorry for banging on about it so much on this blog, but it’s been a big part of our life here for the last few months.

Anyway, to recap, the Examiner changed format this week. It changed from the big broadsheet format to a small compact or tabloid format.

Just after it was published, Johnston Press’s group research manager Graham Russell emailed 4,602 people on the Isle of Man Newspapers marketing database and asked visitors to iomtoday.co.im to fill in a questionnaire. A questionnaire was also printed in the paper.

So far, 84 per cent of those who’ve replied said they preferred the tabloid version. Eleven per cent liked the old-style broadsheet more.

You might have heard a massive, collective ‘Phew!’ from Publishing House after we got that information.

A number of readers have been kind enough to phone or email the office. Here are a few of the comments:

‘Fantastic, love the new layout, best paper of the week, keep up the good work.’

‘Love the new format, should have done it 131 years ago.’

One 80-year-old reader said it was a ‘lovely paper’ and ‘well laid out’.

He said he was almost having to give up reading the Examiner as he has problems with his hands and found it difficult to hold the paper to read it.

‘Congratulations on the new format Examiner. It’s much easier to handle, easier to hold, and I’ve read more of it because of that. In fact it’s sitting on my table at the moment because it now fits on it.’

‘The tabloid size works very well and much easier to read. Good luck with the new format.’

‘Congratulations on the new-style Examiner. It feels much more user friendly and there seems to be more in it somehow.

‘I liked the look of the compact Examiner. Nice crisp, clean feel to it. Juicy lead story to kick it off!’

Newspaper sales manager Kathy Smith and her team ensured that the island’s newsagents were fully aware of the changes.

They liaised with them and gave out bottles of cava to celebrate the newspaper’s relaunch.

The week before the relaunch a card ‘inviting’ readers to the compact Examiner was inserted into every Courier. Each had a unique number on it. Two of those numbers appeared in the first compact Examiner, entitling the readers who had them to a £100 prize each. The numbers are on page 14.

I had a pretty good idea of how I wanted the compact Examiner to look when I began redesigning it in October.

The truth is that I kept pretty much to the principles set out by Robert Ridley, the editor of Manchester Metro News when I joined it back in 1996. In fact, I even stole his main headline font, Utopia.

The new-look Examiner owes a lot to Robert.

We all learn during our working lives and Robert was massively influential on me.

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