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Sean Daly, Michelle Stark and Sharon Kennedy Wynne

Tampa Tribune shrinks its width

7

April

Tribune44-inch-front-040709 When Media General announced cost-saving measures last week, rumors surfaced that the size of the company's Tampa Tribune newspaper might also shrink.

Now that rumor has become reality, with an announcement that the Tribune's web width has shrunk by 4 inches beginning today, to 44 inches from 48 -- a change the newspaper says translates to a 1-inch smaller page size for readers.

By comparison, the St. Petersburg Times is sized at a 48-inch web width. The web width describes the size of the spread of two newspaper pages on a printing press plate, according to the design gurus here at the Times.

So the Times has a space of printable image about 11 inches wide on each page, and the Tribune now has just under 10 inches per page.

Both the Times and the Tribune have slimmed down and combined sections in recent years, as rising newsprint prices and shrinking advertising revenue have forced both publications to rethink how much newsprint they put on the street.

The question, as always, is how to reduce expenses without upsetting the traditional newspaper consumer so much that they stop using the product. The Tribune discovered how delicate that balance could be back in October, when they were forced to step back from a plan merging most of its news into one section, after a deluge of more than 3,000 calls from readers who liked separating sections and sharing among friends and family.

Caught between a massive recession and a historic change in newspaper readers' habits, publishers are scrambling to balance a lot of different needs in one product.

Below is the Tribune's press release on it all. 

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The Tampa Tribune debuts New newspaper size
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Tampa, Fla. – In an effort not only to reduce paper costs and eliminate waste but also adopt a new industry printing standard, today The Tampa Tribune began publishing on a smaller web width size- from 48 inches to 44 inches.  For the reader, that means a slightly narrower page, by only one inch.  Many newspapers across the country have made this change and it has been viewed successfully by both readers and advertisers. 

“We’re changing our width, but not our commitment to our readers.  For 114 years, we’ve been committed to bringing the stories of our hometown.  From top stories to watchdog journalism, full sports coverage to more Tampa news than any other newspaper in this market, that kind of coverage is our promise to readers, “ said Janet Coats, vice president of news for The Tampa Tribune.  “We are Tampa's newspaper, and we intend to honor our commitment to our readers and community each and every day.“

This modification to The Tampa Tribune does not affect content nor features like crosswords and puzzles that readers of the Tribune enjoy.  In addition, readers will benefit from the modification with increased type size for articles and bolder headlines.

[Last modified: Wednesday, July 21, 2010 2:56pm]

    

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