Family-owned County Down papers go tabloid

Two family-owned County Down newspapers that were established more than 100 years ago have moved from a broadsheet to tabloid format.

The first editions of the new-look County Down Spectator and Newtownards Chronicle hit the newsstands yesterday.

Both newspapers were established by the Alexander family – the Chronicle in 1874 and the Spectator in 1904 – and they continue to run the independent business.

Managing director David Alexander said the move to tabloid was the biggest change in the history of the two newspapers.

‘For well over 100 years, the Spectator and the Chronicle have brought all the local news, sport and advertising to the people of North Down and Ards in the familiar broadsheet layout,’he said.

‘This change in size represents the biggest change in the history of these two newspapers. However, we remain firmly committed to bringing our readers the same news and views they expect from us as the voice of their local community.”

General manager Stuart Kennedy added: ‘Our move to compact size reflects the changing pace of life. However we are sticking firmly to the style and content which people in this area know and love – there is nowhere else to get local news in one place and we will remain at the heart of the community.

‘We have always benefitted from top quality journalism at both titles. Our best known former employee is the best-selling author and screenplay writer, Colin Bateman, who penned Divorcing Jack in his spare time while working as Deputy Editor of the County Down Spectator.’

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