Do you think the Observer should go compact?

Group editor Colin Channon with both versions of the paper
Group editor Colin Channon with both versions of the paper

WE are considering plans to make the Observer series – Bognor, Chichester and Midhurst and Petworth – compact, rather than broadsheet, newspapers.

First, however, we want to hear your views.

The Observer in broadsheet and compact

The Observer in broadsheet and compact

Here our group editor, Colin Channnon, outlines the proposals and tells you how you can get in touch:

“ALL of us at the Observer are very proud of the paper we bring to you every week.

Thanks to the work of the team at Unicorn House, the Observer continues to be one of the best-read weekly papers in the country.

We believe that’s because we listen to what readers want from their local paper, and then try to deliver exactly that.

And that’s why we are launching one of the boldest initiatives in the 125-year history of the Observer.

We want to know whether you feel the time is right to turn the Observer into a smaller, compact size with twice as many pages.

Five years ago, I wouldn’t have even contemplated this.

I give many talks to local groups, and five years ago one question dominated proceedings: Why does the ink always come off on my fingers when I read your newspaper?

Since then, extensive research has been undertaken in ink production and you should notice that when you finish reading this copy of the paper, your hands are nowhere near so black.

That means another query now dominates the question-and-answer sessions of those talks:

Isn’t it time the paper was a ‘decent’ size to make it easier to read?

So we thought we’d test the water to see whether the majority of our readers agree.

Many readers said they needed a table to read the paper, as it’s so large – or else sprawled on the floor each week to turn the pages.

Others said it was impossible to read on a train or a bus. But many love the traditional format, and believe it makes their favourite local newspaper very distinctive.

So we have decided to learn more about what YOU want.

We have produced a compact edition of the newspaper, and are undertaking extensive market research.

You may have seen our team out and about asking people their views on the new-look paper.

If you want to take a look at the compact paper, there are some available at our offices:

Chichester

Unicorn House, 8 Eastgate

Square, Chichester, PO19 1JN

Bognor Regis

1-2 Place St Maur Des Fosses,

Belmont Street, Bognor Regis,

PO21 1BJ

Midhurst

The Grange, Bepton Road,

Midhurst, GU29 9HD

We’ll have our research forms available there, too, for you to complete once you have looked at the paper.

You can also register your thoughts online in our reader survey www.jpsurveys.co.uk/observer_format.

Can I make one thing crystal clear? No decision has been made in advance of this research regarding the size of the Observer in the future.

Whether it changes or remains in the same broadsheet format of the past 125 years is entirely down to you.

We are also looking to recruit reader panels to discuss the future of the Observer – to look at the size of the paper, as well as its content.

If you would like to form part of the panel, please get in touch.

Don’t worry, it’s not hard work. We’ll simply sit around a table with a cup of tea and a sandwich, and we’ll discuss the Observer and how YOU would like to see it develop. It’s that easy.

So please get in touch and have your say about the Observer. Your opinion matters.

With many kind regards,

Colin Channon

Group editor

You can view a trial version of the Observer in a compact format, and flick through the pages here.