Compact switch for Falkirk Herald

AFTER 166 years, Scotland’s best-selling local weekly newspaper is today switching from broadsheet to compact.

Says the Falkirk Herald, the weekly paper that was the birthplace of the Johnston Press empire, the change “comes after extensive research and consultation with readers, and will be accompanied by a range of other improvements to the title”.

The pagination of the new-look paper increases from 40 to 96.

Says the paper’s editor, Colin Hume: “The Falkirk Herald has a fine and long-standing reputation for standing up for its readers and the causes close to their hearts.

“That is something that won’t change and, indeed, we want to further raise our profile as the voice of the people.

“However, during extensive research which began in April last year it became apparent that the majority favoured a switch to a smaller, more convenient format so that is what we’ve done.

“But the relaunch is not all about size. We have also introduced some new articles and features, including a 16-page magazine section, to ensure the Herald continues to meet the needs and aspirations or our readers going forward.”

Adds the paper: “The Falkirk Herald and Stirlingshire Monthly Advertiser was first printed in 1845 and bought by the Johnston family from Glasgow lawyer Alexander Hedderwick a year later. In 1851, it switched to weekly editions and went on to become the cornerstone of a local newspaper empire built up by successive generations of the family.

The number of titles in the ownership of F. Johnston and Company had grown to 24 by the time it came under the stewardship of Frederick Mair Johnston in 1936 and when his son, Frederick Patrick Mair Johnston, became chairman in 1973, the expansion continued with the purchase of the Derbyshire Times, the second largest-selling weekly newspaper in England. Ownership of other leading groups in Yorkshire, Sussex and the Midlands quickly followed.”

Today, Johnston Press owns 18 daily and 245 weekly newspapers, including The Scotsman.

The paper’s most recent audited circulation figure is 22,642.