Belfast Telegraph eyes trial tabloid editions

Curran: plans a colour magazine

Deputy editor Jim Flanaghan has met virtually every one of the paper’s journalists at working lunches to determine their views on a compact version. Feedback from the staff was very positive, according to editor Edmund Curran.

“I think our staff are aware of the difficulties the newspaper industry has been going through in circulation terms and they are very supportive of what we are trying to do,” he said.

Mindful of the threat of a strike at the Manchester Evening News when it announced an early bird edition, the company has had preliminary meetings with the NUJ “We are trying to arrive at a consensus,” said Curran. “We’ve tried to maintain a good, positive consultation with the union and they with us.

It’s a question of trying to pull all these things together. It’s a complex operation that requires the support of everybody.”

Since there is no pressure from its readers to change format, Curran said he would certainly be very careful.

There was a general recognition in the industry, and for evenings in particular, that newspapers would have to look for new openings and new markets if possible, he said.

“One of our markets is the internet. We have a very, very large internet site, enormously popular around the world, but we also want to develop our own editions to make the paper more available.

“We have no definitive launch date for any new developments but we are looking at a range of options. We have a lot of plans for 2005 but it will be predicated on when our new press, which is being installed with a facility for colour on every page, is ready. It won’t be this year.”

The two existing presses, already doing tabloid sections for the daily and for its companion Sunday Life, will be refurbished.

“Hopefully in 2005 The Belfast Telegraph will have major and exciting developments,” stated Curran.

By Jean Morgan

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