Updated: 03/04/2013 14:33 | By Agence France-Presse

Australia's Fairfax newspapers go tabloid

Australian broadsheet newspapers The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age on Monday ditched their century-old format for tabloid in a major overhaul at ailing media giant Fairfax.


Australia's Fairfax newspapers go tabloid

Australia's Fairfax newspapers go tabloid

The move is part of the company's bid to shore up readership and advertising revenue in an increasingly digital landscape that has forced the closure of newspapers across the world.

Fairfax announced the sacking of 1,900 staff in June in a radical cost-saving move and plans to put the Herald, which has been a broadsheet since 1831, and Melbourne paper The Age, founded in 1854, behind a paywall this year.

Herald editor-in-chief Sean Aylmer said the move to a "compact" format on the weekday editions was in response to reader wishes, although the Saturday editions will remain in their traditional format.

"The research we've done shows that reading a compact newspaper is easier and preferable to reading a broadsheet," he said.

"So we've changed our shape. But nothing else is going to change. We are committed to quality journalism."

Fairfax, which has newspaper, radio and digital interests, is the main rival in Australia to News Limited, Rupert Murdoch's Australian empire, which is also suffering from the changed landscape.

In common with media companies worldwide, both stables are facing sliding print advertising and circulation revenues.

The Herald and Age websites have also been redesigned to be tablet-friendly, with a greater emphasis on picture stories and video.

But the move has been met with a mixed response. Of hundreds of reader comments left on the Herald website, most were negative.

"Five thumbs down. The layout is cluttered and confusing," said one reader.

"I go to a newspaper site for in-depth articles, not video. If I want TV-style news I will go to a TV news site," he added.

But others were more complimentary. "I am liking the new clean design. As always, it will take a bit of getting used to," another reader said.

Peter Fray, a former editor-in-chief of the Herald, said if the tabloid switch does not work, weekday print editions of Fairfax titles could disappear within five years.

"My gut feeling is that we may not see a printed Monday to Friday (edition) in say five years. Some people say it's much sooner than that, one to two years," he told ABC radio.

Former Age editor Mike Smith told the broadcaster the long-resisted change was a matter of survival.

"This is the most significant physical change to the Fairfax papers since they took ads off the front page," he said.

"It took a world war to do that, and it's taken a threat to their very existence to make them go tabloid."

Latest Photo Galleries on xinmsn

NEWS VIDEOS

MORE NEWS VIDEOS

facebook recommendations

LIVE NEWS RADIO STREAMING

  • 938 Live

    938LIVE is Singapore's only English news and talk station which transmits round the clock with an engaging and enticing spread of programmes on current affairs, health, business and lifestyle as well as news every half hour until midnight.

  • Capital 958


    95.8FM城市频道的前身是"第三广播网"。上个世纪30年代末,新加坡就有中文广播,一路走来经过不少政治,社会局势的改变,中文广播在本地一直扮演举足轻重的角色。