Why 'N.Y. Times' Moved Up Size Change to August

By: Jennifer Saba The New York Times Co. is pushing up the date to shrink its flagship paper in order to save about $7 million.

Until recently, the company planned to reduce the Times' 54-inch web width to 48 inches in April 2008. But last week, The New York Observer published a memo from Times editors informing staffers that the paper's time frame for introducing the new format had been moved up to Aug. 6 of this year.

Today, Times spokeswoman Diane McNulty told E&P the company is making the switch sooner in order to save more money, and because "we were able to lock in the earlier date with mechanical contractors." She said there would be no additional costs for the company to speed up the process of converting its Goss Colorliner presses to the new web width.

The Times Co. will save roughly $7 million as a result of moving up the size-change date, and ongoing it expects to save more than $10 million a year. The smaller format means the paper will become 1.5 inches narrower. The Gray Lady's page count will likely not change, McNulty confirmed, but there is flexibility to increase it by 5%.

McNulty said the new formatted Times will printed at its Edison, N.J., production plant starting Aug. 6. The newspaper is consolidating its printing at its College Point facility in Queens, N.Y., but the Edison plant will handle the printing until sometime in Q2 2008. Four of the six presses at Edison have been retrofitted to handle the new web width, said McNulty, who added the Times plans to sell all of the presses located there.

When the company announced the size change in June 2006, Times Editor Bill Keller wrote in a staff memo the reduction would shrink the newshole by 11%.

McNulty said no major redesign is planned, but in October some elements in the "A" section will change. The paper will "look the same" and have the "same layout," she added.

Papers in the New York Times Co.'s New England and Regional Media divisions also are slimming down. The Boston Globe is reducing its web with from 50 inches to 48 inches in Q4. Along with four of its regional papers, The Ledger in Lakeland, Fla., reported it was trimming its size from a 54-inch web width to 48 inches.


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