The economic downturn has been cited as a reason for the redesign of the Sunday Times and Business Day, writes Kenichi Serino for journalism.co.za.
The Sunday Times in February reduced its size and re-organised its paperÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s sections.Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â More recently, Business Day also changed its look.Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â 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.
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œWe found that advertisers all wanted to appear in the front news section and this resulted in there only being six pages of news,ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â said Sunday Times managing editor Heather Robertson.
Robertson called this reduction of editorial space ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œdetrimental to our overarching mission.ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â
Business Day editor Peter Bruce said that his advertising space in his paper had seen a ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œmarginal decreaseÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â.Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œWe are, anyway, trying to rebalance our revenues with the cover price playing a bigger and bigger role,ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â 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.
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œWe always struggled to sell ads there.Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â That gives us more editorial space for sport, which is a good thing.ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â
The Sunday Times has also created more space for sport news.Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â For the past two years, sport has not always had its own section and wasÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Âuntil the recent redesignÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Âcrammed into two pages.Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â With the Conferderations Cup and 2010 World Cup on their way, Robertson said the paper ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œcould not affordÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â to have so little space for sport.
This is also the second major redesign in three years for the Sunday Times.Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â 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.
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œWhen we redesigned at the end of 2005, the economic climate was much more favourable.Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â We had consistently large papers.Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â We found with the downturn that many of those redesign ideas had to fall by the wayside because there was simply not enough space,ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â said Robertson.
Robertson said that the new paper will ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œdo justiceÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â to the different section and provide more ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œvariety, more voices, and more attitudeÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â.
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œI think all visual media needs updating and modernisation.Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â People want more information for less work and they must get it,ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â she said.