By Polly Keary, Editor
After 114 years of being a traditional full-sized broad sheet, the Monroe Monitor is about to take on a more modern size and shape.
Starting Nov. 5, we are going to start publishing a “tab,” or a tabloid-sized paper that opens like a magazine, a good example of which is the Seattle Weekly.
The plain truth is that it’s simply easier to read a tab. You can read it on the bus without having to tuck your elbows into your sides and keep refolding the thing awkwardly while trying not to jab people.
In fact, so easy are they to handle that when they appeared in the 1880s, they were deemed rather plebeian.
Full-sized broadsheets like ours came to be termed “elites,” while the “tabloid” acquired a reputation for cheap sensationalism for the masses.
In fact, the branding implications of moving to a tab have kept a lot newspapers from publishing in a format that is actually less expensive to produce and easier to read.
In the last 10 years, though, more and more papers are doing it. In the last five years, 80 large metro papers worldwide have gone to the more modern format.
Two of Australia’s biggest and oldest papers just did it; England’s papers have been making the switch for about 10 years, and the Chicago Tribune has been publishing that way since 2009.
Some people find the trend alarming. There’s something about the format that lends itself to “soft” news. With a smaller front page, headlines seem to get more shrill and photos more garish.
Studies have even shown that papers that move to a tabloid format start running less news stories and more sensational news, with a harder focus on crime and scandal.
But I think for us the new format will come with a lot of positives. With smaller pages and more of them, we won’t have to divide pages up anymore. Valley News won’t have to share with Sports. Opinion pages won’t get lumped with Lifestyle. It’s going to be easy to navigate, too.
I don’t intend for the shape of the paper to influence the content, however. We’re going to keep doing a mix of schools, local politics, top news stories, feature stories about interesting people and things, high school sports, opinions and lifestyle stories about the things that make the Sky Valley unique, just as we have for more than a century.
I hope you like the new format.