A dummy cover of the new-look Daily Telegraph supplement
The Telegraph Group is to pump the money it saves annually from scrapping bulk sales – believed to be around £6m to £7m – into editorial content and promoting its daily and sunday titles.
The Daily Telegraph’s Saturday edition this week will present the first of the changes – a redesigned front page and masthead; an expanded and redesigned comment section, with a new slot for a renamed diary; a new 32-page, tabloid Arts & Books section, from which Books will be a 12-page pull-out; a revamp for the Telegraph Magazine, including an expanded home section, Telegraph Food and Home, and new writers.
Anne Robinson will have a Saturday column, Irvine Welsh, author of Trainspotting, will write from America on Mondays and Allison Pearson will return as critic-at-large.
Food and Home will be overseen by Rita Konig, whom Daily Telegraph editor Charles Moore describes as “a domestic goddess of taste and entertaining”.
The group’s decision last autumn that bulks were a waste of money and the money could be re-allocated, has produced a long-term strategy to emphasise the newspaper’s broadsheet market leadership.
“We believe The Daily Telegraph is a premium product for which you charge a premium price,” said Moore.
“I think we all felt the Telegraph had underplayed its own strengths in the way it promoted itself to the world. Too often when you ask people if the Telegraph is the leader in the broadsheet market, they don’t know whether it is or not.
“Journalistically, we behave like a market leader; we set a lot of the agenda and the trends, and we need to reinforce that and tell the world.
“The point about this money is it is not one-off money but permanent money – this campaign which will continue for the foreseeable future.”
It will be good for the company, he feels, “giving a sense of purpose and direction to what we do. It’s good to know from a journalist’s point of view that the Telegraph is proud of its market leadership and is asserting it and backing it financially.”
The new policy is part of the Telegraph’s gradual emergence from the 10-year price war with The Times. The front-page is to be regarded henceforth as “the cover of the book,” and design director Clive Crook has taken a critical eye to some of its “clutter”.
“The existing masthead, though it has the great strength of instant recognisability, is too fiddly,” said Moore.
“We don’t want to get rid of the existing Gothic because it is so distinctive, but we are making it look clearer, plainer and stronger. It will be absolutely recognisable but different.”
There will be an alternative way of using blurbs and write-offs at the top and bottom of the page to lead readers into all aspects of the newspaper.
“It means there will be less whole news stories on the page. The bottom of the page will use well-illustrated write-offs of around 70 words and the whole news stories will be inside.”
The diary’s Peterborough name also disapears in the revamp because, said Moore “nobody but me knows what the hell it is (it was named after a former Telegraph home, Peterborough court) and the word Peterborough doesn’t have any enticement -with all apologies to the people who live in Peterborough.” It will renamed London Spy. “Charlie Methven, the editor, has done something very unusual in my experience of journalists -he has asked not to have a by-line, ” explained Moore. “He feels it is better for a diary to have a collective identity than a personal authorship.”
By Jean Morgan