Compact mania continues its onward march

Three more regional newspapers opted to change from broadsheet to “compact” this week.

The three titles, all owned by Archant, are north east Scotland weeklies The Buchan Observer (circulation 9,000), The Fraserburgh Herald (circulation 6,000) and The Ellon Times (circulation 2,400). The 141-year-old ‘Buchanie’ only started running news on the front page, rather than classified advertising, four years ago.

The Fraserburgh Herald is another long-established title (120 years old) and The Ellon Times was launched in 1990.

Buchan Observer editor Ken Duncan said: “This has been discussed over the last four or five years.

“We felt that it was a very traditional newspaper and that, for the hardcore traditional readership, it could be one step too far.

“But we’ve decided to change, after listening to readers and advertisers alike.

“People said it’s far too large for a local paper – they have to read it on the floor or spread it out on the dining room table.

“We were astonished when we held focus groups and found there was 100 per cent backing for the compact format, provided we didn’t change the content of the newspaper.

“Now we’ve gone compact, the amount of news has actually increased.”

Newly-elected Scottish National Party leader Alex Salmon joined Duncan in unveiling the new paper.

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