‘Times’ heading tabloid, says speculation

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“The Canberra Times” is planning to go tabloid.

This is the speculation coming from a secret management meeting last week, according to independent national news website “Crikey” today.

“Crikey” has reported that “Canberra Times” newsroom insiders say a “brainstorming session at a lakeside Canberra hotel last week discussed several options including moving the paper to a tabloid and the closure of the low-selling Sunday Canberra Times to cut costs”.

The website also understands “one possibility is a merger of the Saturday and Sunday paper to form a larger Saturday weekend edition”.

The website’s report says: “Crimes editor Rod Quinn informed the newsroom last week that the paper was still profitable, that he was hiring fresh staff said there were ‘no plans’ to close the already-tabloid Sunday Times. However, the possibility of a merger with its more popular Saturday sister was left open.

“Rather than the secret crisis talks that some hacks suspected, Quinn reassured staffers that the low-key summit was merely an opportunity to “grab some space to think”. Senior Fairfax management in Sydney have said to have taken a keen interest in the deliberations and are awaiting plans detailing the turnaround.”

“Crikey” has reported a staff survey earlier this year is said to have delivered a lukewarm verdict on the current management team, led by Quinn and general manager Ken Nichols .

“Results of a follow-up ‘pulse’ distributed by Sydney-based Fairfax Metro tsar Jack Matthews and due last week are expected to contain further criticisms,” the report says.

The latest figures show a 13 per cent fall in readership and a 5.8 per cent slump in circulation. Readership figures, measured by Roy Morgan Research, reflect the number of people who read the paper and the Audit Bureau of Circulation’s figures indicate the actual number of copies sold.

The Morgan research has the Saturday “Canberra Times” dropping from 138,000 readers to 120,000 (-13 per cent) for the year to September. Sunday has shed a stunning 16.6 per cent tumbling from 90,000 to 75,000 and Monday to Friday has fallen from an average of 86,000 readers a day to 80,000 (-7 per cent).

In circulation, in the quarter to September, Saturday has slumped from 53,051 to 49,965. Sunday is down 6.4 per cent to 31,308 and the Monday to Friday average has fallen 5.3 per cent to 30,420.


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