'The Irish Times' - smarter look, size and content

Sat, Nov 3, 2012, 00:00

‘The Irish Times’ is enhancing the newspaper and its journalism at a time of rapid digital development

FROM MONDAY, The Irish Times will change in look and size. Most significantly, our journalism will be strengthened to better serve our readers from Monday to Friday, and to do so in a distinctive way at the weekend.

Renowned designers Palmer Watson have joined us in redesigning the newspaper to make it more modern, more readable, and more convenient to consume by virtue of being a little narrower in size.

We have talked to readers, regular and occasional, about how they read the paper, their preferences and what engages them. We have taken on board research on the case for change in presentation of our journalism today, particularly in response to how people consume news through a wide variety of devices and yet retain an affinity for print.

The Irish Times is serving more and more readers in a rapidly emerging digital world but we believe an outstanding newspaper, and its approach to generating journalism, has an important place in that turbulent, constantly changing mix.

That is why we are improving our newspaper and at the same time accelerating digital development while providing journalism to our readers in tune with their lifestyle.

The daily news digest or summary will move from the side of the front page to the bottom, to allow for better display of Irish Times photographs and lead stories. The carefully thought-out design means we will still cover a wide range of stories.

The smarter look in print will be complemented by more extensive, original journalism from our reporters, correspondents and feature writers. That is what our readers cherish most.

News, business and foreign coverage will feature more in the front part of the paper, especially where we are in a position to provide context on news, events and trends that shape people’s lives, and to offer explanation and illumination. It will include notable stories of contemporary Ireland – the good, the bad, the challenging, the humorous and the inspiring – and our take on the world through Irish eyes facilitated in the main by our team of foreign correspondents. We will continue to invest more in global coverage than any other Irish news organisation.

The changes are balanced carefully to retain the core of The Irish Times; including elements ­– some long-established favourites, others innovative ­– that make it so compelling for readers.

Our Monday to Friday business supplements will have extended coverage on personal finance (with the investment units page carried on Tuesdays), food, agribusiness, jobs and management. Pricewatch, edited by Conor Pope, is moving to the main paper on Mondays.

Other supplements on health (HealthPlus, which is becoming Health+Family), sport, and entertainment (The Ticket), as well as The Irish Times Magazine on Saturday, will continue to feature high-quality reporting and writing combined with strong visual elements.

Irish language coverage is being expanded, with more news, interviews and features written by our correspondents, and featuring in its own standalone page on Wednesdays.

The Irish Times Weekend

The weekend paper on Saturdays will reflect more significant aspects of the week. It will also be marked by more writing and news features compatible with consumption over a typical weekend.

Weekend Review will feature readers’ views in a more pronounced way. It will reflect online debate over the course of a week and controversies that arise from it. Coverage of culture, books, arts and ideas will continue to be the most comprehensive of any Irish newspaper.

Thinking Anew and Church Notes will be combined with details of weekend church services at the back of the paper. The Irish Times archive slot will feature in Weekend Review.

Further changes will be introduced over the coming weeks and months with some new perspectives and different voices throughout the paper.

Other regular items and columns will be moving to different parts of the paper. The popular Body Sole section on running is moving to Health+Family on Tuesdays.

We will have a new daily Bulletin page and improved weather service with the usual features, crosswords, bridge, chess and sudoku.

Feedback

As always, your feedback is most valued and is taken into account by us. Please send your comments on any aspects of the changes by email to change@irishtimes.com and they will be carefully evaluated and given every consideration.

Newspapers, imperfect as they may be, make a telling contribution to society. We believe this is especially the case with quality Irish newspapers such as The Irish Times in how they report the news and, for example, provide added dimensions of insight, investigative reporting and accountability.

We report the workings of our democracy and challenge those who lead it. We aim to be a leading facilitator of debate.

A printed daily newspaper, in our view, continues to be a central part of that process.

Readers identify with that focus, and with our values and independence. Nobody owns The Irish Times and our independence is guaranteed by The Irish Times Trust.

The newspaper in 2012

At a time of considerable economic difficulty and uncertainty for Ireland and its citizens, and pressures due to reduced advertising within all media, we appreciate the support of those who buy the newspaper, and advertise in it. This remains a vital way to fund our journalism as revenues from online sources do not make up the shortfall and a sustainable business model for media operating in the digital world is not clear.

Over the course of a week, 651,000 Irish adults read a copy of The Irish Times or one of its supplements. Our news output is at an unprecedented level. Readers engage with and respond to our journalism like never before. Irish Times news, reportage, comment and analysis matter to a great many people, including those living abroad in the Irish diaspora.

The changes to the newspaper and digital developments will help us to resonate in a better way with readers and consumers of all ages, especially at key stages of their life.

A smarter Irish Times – in look and content – will continue to produce quality journalism. We intend that the newspaper, together with our digital offerings, will play an essential part in informing and enriching the lives of a growing number of print and online consumers.