The economic downturn has been cited as a reason for the redesign of the Sunday Times and Business Day, writes Kenichi Serino for

The Sunday Times in February reduced its size and re-organised its paper’s sections.  More recently, Business Day also changed its look.  While the changes were partly motivated by advertising concerns, decision-makers at both papers said they were also concerned about accommodating more news on fewer pages.

“We found that advertisers all wanted to appear in the front news section and this resulted in there only being six pages of news,” said Sunday Times managing editor Heather Robertson.

Robertson called this reduction of editorial space “detrimental to our overarching mission.”

Business Day editor Peter Bruce said that his advertising space in his paper had seen a “marginal decrease”.  

“We are, anyway, trying to rebalance our revenues with the cover price playing a bigger and bigger role,” said Bruce.
Bruce said there had not been major changes to the sections, except for crosswords and puzzles which moved to the back of the front section.

“We always struggled to sell ads there.  That gives us more editorial space for sport, which is a good thing.”

The Sunday Times has also created more space for sport news.  For the past two years, sport has not always had its own section and was—until the recent redesign—crammed into two pages.  With the Conferderations Cup and 2010 World Cup on their way, Robertson said the paper “could not afford” to have so little space for sport.

This is also the second major redesign in three years for the Sunday Times.  At the time of the last redesign, in 2005 the paper was flush with advertising revenue and was even turning away advertisers for lack of space.

“When we redesigned at the end of 2005, the economic climate was much more favourable.  We had consistently large papers.  We found with the downturn that many of those redesign ideas had to fall by the wayside because there was simply not enough space,” said Robertson.

Robertson said that the new paper will “do justice” to the different section and provide more “variety, more voices, and more attitude”.

“I think all visual media needs updating and modernisation.  People want more information for less work and they must get it,” she said.