A few readers have been noticing that The Star's print edition has been coming in two different widths over the past few days. What's going on?
The paper is in the middle of a transition to a narrower width overall -- part of a general trend that's been happening for decades. The Star's first edition on Sept. 18, 1880 was 13 1/2 inches wide, but only 18 inches tall. By 1950, the page had grown to a mammoth 17 inches wide. At that size, I find the broadsheet it be quite unmanageable.
Today, the page is transitioning to 11 inches wide, but it's now 21 inches tall. That's in line with what's becoming the industry standard for broadsheets, but other sizes are even more popular around the world. A format slightly larger than a tabloid called a "Berliner" is the paper size of choice in many places, and I see why. It's a good combination of easy to maneuver while providing good real estate for big photos and graphics.
As The Star gets a bit smaller, the main body type is not changing at all, and it remains by far the largest ever in the history of the paper. If you see an example of the printing from the early 20th century at actual size, I think you'll be amazed at how small it was compared to now.
One thing that has shrunk a bit is some graphical elements. The comic strips and puzzles are a few percentage points smaller, though a change in their layout minimized how much they had to shrink.
I'm also hearing from some readers of Star TV Plus, the expanded printed TV listings book that home subscribers may add, that the grids are too small in the new size. That one's a tough situation to remedy, as those grids are already dense, and eliminating channels is just about the only option. I'll get with the Advertising department to see if there's a fix possible.
The Star's press plant runs multiple presses, and they're being converted to the new size one at a time. For the next few weeks, readers may notice that even the same copy of the paper may contain sections at each page width. The switchover is expected to be completed by the end of May.