By Mario Garcia
Gulf News of the
UAE prepares for its change to the Berliner format, interest increases about the benefits of going Berliner.
The view of the Dubai Marina skyline at night; photo by Frank Deville
The Berliner format has been adopted by some of the world’s best known newspapers, including Le Monde (France), The Guardian (UK) and Mint (India). The size of the Berliner allows these newspapers to differentiate themselves from the smaller tabloids, allow for sectionalizing that is easy to pull out, and create a distinctive look that research shows readers appreciate
The announcement in this blog earlier this week about the Gulf Newsconverting to the Berliner format on June 1 has prompted dozens of emails and telephone calls from around the world, with one question: why the Berliner format?
Why not, is my standard answer.
The benefits of the Berliner format are many (not to mention that it makes for an attractive size, a great canvas on which to place text and images).
It gives us the benefits of the long adored broadsheet, with the visual energy and vibrancy of the tabloid.
It allows for sectioning of the department, with sections that can be pulled out.
It allows a text driven newspaper to carry stories to be read on page one, but with visual navigators.
It allows for a double page package to be read as a unit, since readers hold the two pages open without folding them, as is usually the case with broadsheets.
It presents an ideal canvas for the display of advertising.
Here is sample Berliner grid Page size: The new Berliner format for the Gulf News is 295 mm wide with 10 mm on each side for a total of 315mm; 440 mm long with 10 mm margin top, 20mm margin bottom, total 470 Columns: Six column grid, each column 4.5mm, gutter of 5mm Internal space: As the grid here shows, the Berliner page has six columns Advertising modules:smallest is 45mm by 10.10 points, for a total of 8 on the page vertically and 6 horizontally.
Gulf News Editor in Chief Abdul Hamid Ahmad and I discuss content distribution in the existing broadsheet edition and how those contents will transfer to the Berliner format effective June 1.
From left: at the beginning, pamphlet-like formats, then giant broadsheet, tabloid, A4, Berliner and the “narrow web” broadsheet
If we take a look at the history of newspapers, this is what we see:
Original “pamphlet” format:
The first “newspapers,“ such as the London Gazette (1666)
or, in the US, Publick Occurrences (1690), appeared in the format
of small pamphlets.
Broadsheets: At first, huge 10-column broadsheets developed in 1712 when the British authorities placed a tax on newspapers based on the number of their pages. The tax regulations did not specify size of page. The larger pages became a status symbol, associated with the serious newspaper, which remain to this day. Among the most popular today, The New York Times and the Times of India, among others.
Tabloids: Born around 1830s, as part of a popular, more down market press.
The first of the big tabloids, The London Daily Mirror (1903) led to the first mass circulation tabloid in the US, The New York Daily News. The word tabloid has carried a connotation of a less serious and/or authoritative newspaper. However, since the 1980s, some of the world’s most distinguished dailies have started publishing in the format, among them Times of London, El Pais (Spain) A4: Seen mostly in the German speaking world, the A4 format is easy to carry, popular with readers in Germany, Austria and parts of Switzerland. Among the most popular, Kronen Zeitung and Kleine Zeitung (Austria), Hamburger MorgenPost (Germany) and 24 Sata (Croatia) Berliner format: Since the late 1990s the Berliner format has captivated the imagination of newspaper publishers who felt the broadsheet was no longer the most viable format, but who did not wish to take their products to a tabloid size.
Instead, the Berliner format allowed them for publishing of separate sections that readers can pull out. Among the most notable Berliner format newspapers: Le Monde (France), The Guardian (UK), Mint (India). And starting today, the first in the Gulf region: Gulf News. Narrow web broadsheets: While US newspapers continue to be mostly published as broadsheets, publishers are aware of the preference for smaller formats, prompting several, including such national dailies as The Wall Street Journal and USA Today to move to the 40 to 46” so called “narrow web” format, a long broadsheet with the width of the Berliner but about 4 inches longer.