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'Compact' Age to keep tone

22 Feb 2013 THE AGE - MATT O'SULLIVAN



FAIRFAX Media said the editorial tone or style of journalism of its flagship newspapers will remain when they switch from broadsheet to compact-sized formats in two weeks.

The publisher expects the redesign to result in a short-term lift in sales of The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age during the launch period.

Amid unprecedented change sweeping the media industry, the publisher has released details of the switch of the Monday-to-Friday editions of the Herald and The Age from broadsheet to so-called "compacts" on March 4.

The Saturday editions of the two metropolitan newspapers will remain unchanged. However, Fairfax plans to switch them to compact formats within the next year when it closes its two biggest printing facilities at Chullora in Sydney and Tullamarine in Melbourne, and shifts the publishing of the newspapers to regional sites.

As part of the latest changes, new sections will appear in The Age, including Pulse - encompassing health, science and personal wellbeing - which will run on Mondays. The Shortlist will replace the EG section and appear on Fridays. One of the biggest changes will be the shift of the sports section to the back of The Age.

The size of the body type of stories will be increased slightly.

Garry Linnell, the editorial director of Fairfax Metro Media, said surveys had shown that readers' chief concern was that the redesign of the newspapers did not change their editorial tone.

"The size might be changing physically but the journalism that we pursue and practise is not going to change one bit," he said. "The tone remains the same."