Inside Story

Behind the scenes in the Observer's newsroom with Executive Editor Rick Thames

Newspaper gets new look, feel

06/10/2008 12:00 AM

06/10/2008 1:29 PM

Most of the newspapers we printed today have a slightly different look and feel.

Can't put your finger on it? Try the white space in the margins.

If there is less of it today than yesterday, there's your answer.

For weeks, our pressroom and newsroom have worked to convert the Observer to a new page width narrowed by 3/4-inch. Overnight, we switched more than half of our papers to the new width. Remaining papers should change within two weeks.

A reduced width is becoming the standard for our industry and is already in place at many major newspapers, including The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal.

Newspapers do this to reduce the newsprint necessary for each edition. That saves on costs at a time when virtually all expenses are rising. Readers also tend to like the narrower width, saying the newspaper is easier to handle.

We actually narrowed the printed area of the paper in most sections weeks ago. But we continued to use the same size paper until our presses could be converted. That's why extra white space began appearing in the margins.

We're now at the point where we can print entire editions in the narrower width. So, the extra-wide margins will disappear.

A few readers have asked if the type in stories shrank as a result of this change. It's the same size as before, which happens to be larger than the type in many other newspapers.

That's among many popular reader features that we worked to preserve even as we moved to the new width.

We welcome your feedback on this and other changes that could make the Observer a better newspaper for you.

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