England's last evening broadsheet goes tabloid

The last English evening regional newspaper published as a broadsheet, the Halifax Evening Courier, has made the switch to tabloid format.

Monday's edition of the paper was the first "compact" edition in its history – making last Friday's edition England's last evening broadsheet and ending a national tradition stretching back more than two hundred years.

The Courier, then called the Daily Courier, was founded in 1921 from a merger between the Liberal-supporting Halifax Courier and the Conservativesupporting Halifax Guardian.

The Courier has been making the change slowly — its Saturday edition has been tabloid for several years — and editor John Furbisher says he is a fan of "evolution rather then revolution".

He said: "We have been in no hurry to make the final switch in format because I firmly believe [in] making the content right first. But readers now show a clear preference for compact papers and some of the other changes they want simply cannot be achieved in broadsheet format."

Furbisher plans to change the running order of the paper to put more local news towards the front of the paper.

As the Courier makes the switch, the Trinity Mirror-owned Croydon Advertiser is this week celebrating 12 months since it did the same.

The Advertiser will produce an anniversary edition on 31 March and editor Ian Carter believes that the change has been a success for both "readers and staff".

"In terms of changes there weren't that many to make, the content was already going down that route. We've had no negative feedback, it's a bigger, beefier product now," he said.

"The subs enjoy it because beforehand they were more restricted. For the reporters it was a bit of a learning curve because they had to write a bit tighter."

Carter said the new format had done well for the paper's sales. The Advertiser's circulation figure for the second half of 2006 was 20,510 per week, a dip of 5 per cent on the same period in 2005, though some London weeklies experienced drops of up to 20 per cent.

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