Sunday Herald ed on 'risky and brave' mag relaunch

As the Glasgow Sunday Herald re-launched as a single section magazine this week, editor Richard Walker told Press Gazette, ‘rather than cut pages and dilute the newspaper, we thought it would be better to look at what we do best and come up with a fresh idea”.

The relaunch of the Newsquest-owned weekly, which has an ABC sales figure of 41,464, comes shortly after 12 editorial jobs were cut across the Herald and Times Group. Staff called off planned industrial action partly so as not to jeopardise the title’s relaunch as a 92-page news magazine.

Walker admitted that resourcing issues had helped prompt the change in direction – and said the general response from readers has so far been ‘very positive”.

“We’ve had countless emails saying how much they liked it from people inside and out of the industry,” he said.

Despite the positive responce from a number of readers, Walker said the new-look Sunday Herald had left some other readers bemoaning the lack of sections and the new format.

“There are many attractions to the new format,” he said. “It doesn’t fall about and is easy to read. Also people have been reading from sections that they haven’t previously read as it’s all together.”

Sales of the Sunday Herald have declined in the last five years from over 60,000. Walker said that initial indications are that the launch issue sold well, with an estimated circulation of just over 48,000.

In addtion to this around 6,000 free sample copies were also distributed last weekend, Walker said, to “get it into as many hands as possible”.

He added: “What has been great about the whole process has been the engagement with our community whether it’s on twitter, online, facebook or letters, there has been a real interest in what we’re doing.”

The Sunday Herald has won numerous awads over the years and Walker said he believed the change was the best way to defend its distinctive journalism.

He said: ‘We wanted to concentrate on our own journalism, to build upon are reputation for quality investigative journalism and photography.

‘It’s something that has never been done before and we felt it was far more exciting than diluting the paper. It is kind of risky and kind of brave but we are invigorated by this challenge and hopefully the readers are too.”

He said that some readers have complained about the lack of separate sections in the new format, but he said: ‘There are many attractions. It doesn’t fall about and is easy to read. Also people have been reading from sections that they haven’t previously read as it’s all together.”

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