We’re Going Compact

Overview of the change to Compact, by Launch editor, Bernadette Courtney

Our new format, launching on April 30, is more than a nip and tuck.

Your paper will change in size, have all of your favourite sections, but will have a new emphasis.

Why are we changing to a new format after 150 years as a successful broadsheet?

Because you have told us, through reader focus groups, that you want a newspaper that reflects changing habits and one that is easier to read and carry around. Let’s face it, we’re not the first to make the change and we won’t be the last.

We think the changes will revolutionise our papers and keep them stronger for longer.

We’re committed to continued investment in print.

Our paper will have more in-depth reading and plenty of local news. Readers will have a more immersive experience, with much more analysis and opinion. We will have a daily in-depth feature looking at national and international stories and issues of the day — challenging readers to think again.

You’ve told us that you trust us to bring you quality journalism, stories that matter and that count, content that digs deep on local, national and international issues. Our award-winning journalists and columnists will continue to do that.

Re-imagining the paper has been exciting, scary and fun, we are conscious that you as a reader and advertiser invest in us every day. We’ve produced award-winning papers and design over the years that we like, so it’s been a tough challenge to set.

How do we put the best of our broadsheet paper into a new format and how do we simplify our papers so that they are better produced?

It’s required some big thinking.

Over the past four months, senior editors and commercial and marketing teams have worked closely with a top designer to develop a paper we are proud of. A paper rooted in quality and integrity, relevant to our communities, focused on content and connected to our readers —with a slick design to boot.

We want a paper that acknowledges the long-standing strong relationship we have with our readers and advertisers.

A big financial investment has been put into developing this print product. We’ve never given up on print and this move to compact signals our commitment to great newspapers alongside our rich digital portfolio. Despite one of the biggest digital audiences in New Zealand, we have always valued and appreciated our loyal print audience.

We believe that great newspapers will remain relevant no matter what the media landscape. Stuff, our parent company, is leading the way in digital with our audience the biggest in New Zealand behind the global players like Google and Facebook. News is now instantaneous and that’s given us an opportunity to re-imagine what the role of a newspaper is in a digital world. We think we can be better looking, smarter and give you more analysis.

So what’s new?

We wanted a design that is new and refreshing. We’ve thought hard about ensuring the favourite aspects of your paper are included in the new format and presented in a compelling way.

Subscribers have been at the heart of our thinking about the new paper. We have designed an elegant daily paper that reinforces the content that we know our subscribers love but that will also challenge the reader too.

Finding your way around a new paper can be tricky, so we have colour coded sections to make it easier to navigate. You will discover we have made the paper more visually appealing through sharp design to better showcase our award-winning photography.

We’ve refreshed the look of the TV page, weather page and puzzles, but the content remains the same. You’ve told us that you value the sharemarket table, so we’ve expanded it to a full page.

Local news is key to our readers, so we’ve ensured there’s plenty of it and at the front of your paper. There’s also local opinion and viewpoints. Politics and national news have
been beefed up and our analysis pages have expanded.

TV Week, Escape our travel section and Life have all been given a revamp.

At this stage, implementing the compact changes affects only our Monday to Friday publications, but we’ve also taken the opportunity with new advertising sizes to refresh Saturday’s paper.

The move to compact was driven by the market — advertisers and readers are overwhelmingly supportive of a new format.

We love our new-look compact and its modern, elegant design, and hope you do to.

I’d really value any feedback on this new-look paper so please email me at compact@stuff.co.nz.