Coming this August: The New York Times Narrows!

Today, a Times internal memo outlined some of the changes taking place this August, when newspaper will be 1.5 inches narrower. See below for more on that reduced news hole in the near future. No worries though, since there's plenty of space in the brand new City Room.


To: Newsroom
From: John MacLeod, Terry Schwadron
Subject: Narrowing the size of the newspaper page

The editions of The Times for Monday, Aug. 6 will be the first with new, narrower page dimensions. The printed page will be the same depth, but an inch and a half narrower.

To account for the changes, those in Design and News Technology have been working with colleagues in Advertising, Ad Makeup, Systems, those involved in page transmission and the printing plants to align all of the intent and coding necessary. Basically, a large number of press mechanics will changeover prepared presses at College Point, Edison and national plants on Sunday to be able to print at the new size.

There are few design changes that will be obvious to the reader, except for the overall page dimensions. There are the same number of columns per page with the exception of a slight adjustment to body type, for example. At other papers that have changed size, readers seem to have reacted positively.

Over the next weeks, page designers in the individual sections will be working with departments to produce trial pages that will give editors a feel for any adjustments. The new coding is all available in CCI.

Narrower columns mean either slightly smaller or slightly squarer photos, but for most readers. For editors, the main change will be fewer words per column and slightly tight one-column headlines are tighter. One consequence is somewhat shorter dress page runs.

A dress page column now with headline and blurb might be 720 words; without a jump, the equivalent column will be about 50-60 words shorter. While Bill Keller has been asking overall for shorter stories, the start of the narrow-measure paper will reduce specific news holes.

Page designers are working out samples to share with individual sections. Merrill Perlman is working with News Technology on a guidance sheet for copy editors.

With the start of this project looming, it seems a good time to ask all to think anew about how the measures may alter story lengths or layouts.

Feel free to ask John or Terry for details. Coming this August: The New York Times Narrows!