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The broadsheet is the largest of the various newspaper formats and is characterized by long vertical pages (typically 22 inches or 560 millimetres). The term derives from types of popular prints usually just of a single sheet, sold on the streets and containing various types of material, from ballads to political satire. The first broadsheet newspaper was the Dutch Courante uyt Italien, Duytslandt, &c. published in 1618.
Many broadsheets measure approximately 29 by 1⁄223 inches (749 by 597 mm) per full broadsheet spread, twice the size of a standard tabloid. Australian and New Zealand broadsheets always have a paper size of 1⁄2A1 per spread (841 by 594 mm or 33.1 by 23.4 in). South African broadsheet newspapers have a double-page spread sheet size of 820 by 578 mm or 32 by 22.8 in (single-page live print area of 380 x 545 mm).
In the United States, the traditional dimensions for the front page half of a broadsheet are 15 inches (381 mm) wide by 22 inches (578 mm) long. However in efforts to save 3⁄4newsprint costs many U.S. newspapers (including the overseas version of The Wall Street Journal) have downsized to 12 inches (305 mm) wide by 22 inches (578 mm) long for a folded page. 3⁄4
Many rate cards and specification cards refer to the "broadsheet size" with dimensions representing the front page "half of a broadsheet" size, rather than the full, unfolded broadsheet spread. Some quote actual page size and others quote the "printed area" size.
The two versions of the broadsheet are:
- Full broadsheet – The full broadsheet typically is folded vertically in half so that it forms four pages (the front page front and back and the back page front and back). The four pages are called a spread. Inside broadsheets are nested accordingly.
- Half broadsheet – The half broadsheet is usually an inside page that is not folded vertically and just includes a front and back.
In uncommon instances, an entire newspaper can be a two-page half broadsheet or four-page full broadsheet. Totally self-contained advertising circulars inserted in a newspaper in the same format are referred to as broadsheets.
Broadsheets typically are also folded horizontally in half to accommodate newsstand display space. The horizontal fold however does not affect the page numbers and the content remains vertical. The most important newspaper stories are placed "above the (horizontal) fold." This contrasts with tabloids which typically do not have a horizontal fold (although tabloids usually have the four page to a sheet spread format).
The broadsheet has since emerged as the most popular format for the dissemination of printed news. The world's most widely circulated English-language daily broadsheet is The Times of India, a leading English-language daily newspaper from India, followed closely by The New York Times from the United States, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations.
Historically, broadsheets developed after the British in 1712 placed a tax on newspapers based on the number of their pages. Larger formats, however, had long been signs of status in printed objects, and still are in many places, and outside Britain the broadsheet developed for other reasons, including style and authority, unrelated to the British tax structure.
The original purpose of the broadsheet, or broadside, was for the purpose of posting royal proclamations, acts, and official notices. Eventually the people began using the broadsheet as a source for political activism by reprinting speeches, ballads or narrative songs originally performed by bards. With the early mechanization of the 19th century came an increase in production of printed materials including the broadside as well as the competing penny dreadful. In this period newspapers all over Europe began to print their issues on broadsheets. However, in the United Kingdom, the main competition for the broadside was the gradual reduction of the newspaper tax, beginning in the 1830s, and eventually its dismissal in 1855.
With the increased production of newspapers and literacy, the demand for visual reporting and journalists led to the blending of broadsides and newspapers, creating the modern broadsheet newspaper.
Modern printing facilities most efficiently print broadsheet sections in multiples of eight pages (with four front pages and four back pages). The broadsheet is then cut in half during the process. Thus the newsprint rolls used are defined by the width necessary to print four front pages. The width of a newsprint roll is called its web. Thus the new 12-inch-wide front page broadsheet newspapers in the United States use a 48-inch web newsprint roll.
With profit margins narrowing for newspapers in the wake of competition from broadcast, cable television, and the internet, newspapers are looking to standardize the size of the newsprint roll. The Wall Street Journal with its 12-inch wide frontpage was printed on 48-inch web newsprint. Early adopters in the downsizing of broadsheets initially used a 50-inch web (12 1⁄2-inch front pages). However the 48-inch web is now rapidly becoming the definitive standard in the U.S. The New York Times held out on the downsizing until July 2006, saying it would stick to its 54-inch web (13 1⁄2-inch front page). However, the paper adopted the narrower format beginning Monday, August 6, 2007.
The smaller newspapers also have the advantage of being easier to handle, particularly among commuters.
In some countries, especially Australia, Canada, the UK, and the US, broadsheet newspapers are commonly perceived to be more intellectual in content than their tabloid counterparts, using their greater size to examine stories in more depth, while carrying less sensationalist and celebrity material. This distinction is most obvious on the front page: whereas tabloids tend to have a single story dominated by a headline, broadsheets allow two or more stories to be displayed, the most important at the top of the page—"above the fold". In other countries, such as Spain, a small format is the universal for newspapers—a popular, sensational press has had difficulty taking root—and the tabloid size has no such connotations.
On the other hand, a few newspapers, such as the German Bild-Zeitung and others throughout central Europe are unashamedly tabloid in content, but use the physical broadsheet format.
United Kingdom broadsheets
In the United Kingdom, two major daily broadsheets are distributed nationwide, and two on Sundays:
- The Daily Telegraph and The Sunday Telegraph – broadly right-wing
- Financial Times
- The Sunday Times – broadly centre-right
As of April 2011, the average circulation of The Times was around 450,000, The Daily Telegraph 640,000 copies daily, and the Financial Times around 372,000, while the circulations of The Guardian and The Independent, both of them previously published in broadsheet format, were 264,000 and 181,000, respectively.
Switch to smaller sizes
In the United Kingdom
In 2003, The Independent started concurrent production of both broadsheet and tabloid ("compact") editions, carrying exactly the same content. The Times did likewise, but with less apparent success, with readers vocally opposing the change. The Independent ceased to be available in broadsheet format in May 2004, and The Times followed suit from November 2004; The Scotsman is also now published only in tabloid format. The Guardian switched to the "Berliner" or "midi" format found in some other European countries (slightly larger than a traditional tabloid) on 12 September 2005.
The main motivation cited for this shift is that commuters prefer papers which they can hold easily on public transport, and it is presumably hoped that other readers will also find the smaller formats more convenient. It remains to be seen how this shake-up will affect the usage of the term "broadsheet". Notably, The Daily Telegraph increased its lead in circulation over The Times when the latter switched to compact size – this is attributed to the backlash of traditional broadsheet readers.
In the United States
In the United States, The Wall Street Journal made headlines when it announced its overseas version would convert to a tabloid on October 17, 2005. There is strong debate in the U.S. on whether or not the rest of the national papers will, or even should, follow the trend of the British papers and The Wall Street Journal. Currently,[when?] both the Chicago Sun-Times and the St. Louis Post Dispatch are printed as compact format newspapers, as well as a digested version of The Washington Post, the edition of July 31, 2006, becoming the first American newspaper to change to the Berliner format; however, the most recent change was in February 2009 when the Reading Eagle converted to the Berliner format as well.
Most Bangladeshi daily newspapers are broadsheets.
- The Daily Star, a Bangladeshi broadsheet English-language daily.
- The Bangladesh Observer, oldest continuously published English-language daily in Bangladesh.
- Daily Naya Diganta, a broadsheet Bengali-language daily in Bangladesh.
- The Daily Ittefaq, oldest and most circulated newspaper of Bangladesh.
- New Age
- The Independent
Most Brazilian newspapers are broadsheets, including the three most important:
Almost all of Canada's major daily newspapers are broadsheets. Newspapers are in English, unless stated otherwise.
- The Guelph Mercury
- The Hamilton Spectator
- The Kingston Whig-Standard
- The London Free Press
- The Ottawa Citizen
- The Pembroke Daily Observer
- The Peterborough Examiner
- The St. Catharines Standard
- The Sudbury Star
- The Chronicle-Journal
- The Toronto Star
- The Waterloo Region Record, Kitchener-Waterloo and Cambridge
- The Windsor Star
- Listín Diario
- La Información, Santiago de los Caballeros
- El Comercio
- El Telégrafo
- El Universo
Almost all major newspapers in India are broadsheets. Tabloids are mostly found in small-circulation local or rural papers.
- Amar Ujala
- Anandabazar Patrika
- Deccan Chronicle
- Deccan Herald
- Dainik Jagran
- Dainik Bhaskar
- Ei Samay
- Rajsthan Patrika
- Sangbad Pratidin
- State Times
- The Financial Express
- The Indian Express
- The Economic Times
- The Hindustan Times
- The Hindu
- The Hitavada
- The New Indian Express
- The Statesman
- The Telegraph
- The Times of India
- Dainik Navajyoti
- Malayala Manorama
- Imphal Free Press
All newspapers in Spain are printed in compact format.
The first major Swedish newspaper to leave the broadsheet format and start printing in tabloid format was Svenska Dagbladet, on November 16, 2000. As of August 2004, there were 26 broadsheet newspapers in total, with a combined circulation of 1,577,700 and 50 newspapers in tabloid with a combined circulation of 1,129,400. On October 5, 2004, the morning newspapers Göteborgs-Posten, Dagens Nyheter, Sydsvenskan and Östersunds-Posten all switched to tabloid, thus making it the leading format for morning newspapers in Sweden by volume of circulation. Most other broadsheet newspapers have followed since.
As of 2011, few daily newspapers in Sweden continue to be printed in broadsheet. Värnamo Nyheter and Smålands-Tidningen, with average daily circulations of 18,700 and 15,700, respectively (as of 2010, Tidningsstatistik AB) are two exceptions.
Most of the newspapers in Turkey are printed on this format. Notable ones include:
United Arab Emirates
- Albuquerque Journal
- The Arizona Republic
- The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
- The Bakersfield Californian
- The Baltimore Sun
- The Birmingham News
- The Boston Globe
- The Buffalo News
- The Charlotte Observer
- Chicago Tribune
- The Dallas Morning News
- The Denver Post
- Detroit Free Press
- The Florida Times-Union
- The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead
- The Fresno Bee
- Houston Chronicle
- The Indianapolis Star
- The Kansas City Star
- Las Vegas Review-Journal
- Los Angeles Daily News
- Los Angeles Times
- The Miami Herald
- Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
- New York Law Journal
- The New York Sun
- The New York Times
- The Oklahoman (Oklahoma City, Oklahoma)
- The Orange County Register
- The Oregonian (Portland, Oregon)
- Orlando Sentinel
- The Philadelphia Inquirer
- Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
- The Plain Dealer (Cleveland, Ohio)
- Portland Press Herald (Portland, Maine)
- Press-Telegram (Long Beach, California)
- The Providence Journal
- The Seattle Times
- The Salt Lake Tribune
- San Antonio Express-News
- The San Bernardino Sun
- San Francisco Chronicle
- Star Tribune (Minneapolis, Minnesota)
- The Star-Ledger (Newark, New Jersey)
- The Sun (New York City, New York)
- Tampa Bay Times
- The Tampa Tribune
- The Times-Picayune (New Orleans, Louisiana)
- U-T San Diego
- Vineyard Gazette
- The Wall Street Journal
- The Washington Post
- USA Today (national newspaper; headquartered in McLean, Virginia)
- Peter, Roy (February 17, 2006). "Watch Out, Broadsheet: Tabloid Power Is Gonna Get Your Mama". Poynter Institute. Retrieved August 10, 2012.
- Seelye, Katharine Q. (2006-12-04). "In Tough Times, a Redesigned Journal". The New York Times. Retrieved 2013-03-20.
- "The New York Times Plans to Consolidate New York Print Run at Newest Facility in College Point, Queens and Sublease Older Edison, New Jersey, Printing Plant in Early 2008" (Press release). The New York Times Company. 2006-07-18. Retrieved 2013-03-20.
- Staff (undated; copyright 2004). "The Word on the Street – Background". National Library of Scotland. Retrieved August 10, 2012.
- Staff (May 13, 2011). "ABCs: National Daily Newspaper Circulation April 2011". The Guardian. Retrieved August 10, 2012.
- Freudenheim, Milt (May 9, 2005). "Abroad, The Wall Street Journal Will Be a Tabloid". The New York Times. Retrieved August 10, 2012.
- [dead link] "For American Publishers, Broadsheets Are Bright Stars. News & Tech.
- [dead link] "Reading Eagle Spreads Wings". News & Tech.
- "Fairfax makes way for compact future". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. March 1, 2013. Retrieved March 4, 2013.
- Database (undate). "Every Daily Newspaper in Canada". Fishwrap.ca. Retrieved August 10, 2012.
- [unreliable source?] Boström, Svenåke (November 10, ). "Mindpark #049: Tabloidtisdagen" (in Swedish). Mindpark.se. Retrieved August 10, 2012.
- Database (undated). "Värnamo Nyheter" (in Swedish). Tidningsstatistik AB. Retrieved August 10, 2012.
- Database (undated). "Smålands-Tidningen" (in Swedish). Tidningsstatistik AB. Retrieved August 10, 2012.