The Daily Telegraph goes tabloid – the Sports section at least!
The Daily Telegraph’s hierarchy have resisted the urge to follow its competitors to downsize. Tabloid is the current vogue for British daily newspapers. The executives are obviously looking over the precipice though. A few months back their stand-alone Sports Section was relaunched, beefed up with the introduction of a few more ex-pros. Of most significance was its size – tabloid. Is this the thin end of the wedge? I believe so. The question though, is the sports section better for it?
I would suggest not. Yes, the journalistic quality remains at the highest level. Strangely though, this may be the hub of the problem. The ‘magaziny’ stylization works for features, interviews, etc (the Daily Mail and Daily Express being good examples). It is the reporting of the majority sports (i.e. football and cricket) and the front page where I believe that the restructure has been a let down.
The front page of a broad sheet is a place to graze. Not the sole domain of an exclusive of the editor’s choice. It provides a chance to take in the top stories, a summary of others, a topical cartoon and more often than not a photojournalistic masterpiece.
Once within a broadsheet a double page spread can provide space for numerous match reports. With a tabloid there is a danger of repetitive strain injury. Thumbing backwards and forwards as the match reports go on page after page. Yes, if you are on a commuter train, the London Underground or a crowded bus a tabloid is more convenient. Certainly the instances of elbowing have reduced dramatically. Is this the purpose of a newspaper though; the reduction of EBH (elbow bodily harm)?
For me a comic or a magazine comes in a handy format. The Daily Telegraph should stick by its guns and resist the urge to downsize. If it does succumb, why not split the print run? Commuters can have their easy turn tabloid. Then those like me can continue to spread their broadsheets across the kitchen table.
The bottom line is that I have not seen an improvement in my enjoyment of the sports section since its change in size. The ability to turn a page in a confined space is not paramount and must not over-ride the overall presentation and ultimately the quality of the offering.
© Peter Boxall 2006