Commentary: The Slate to publish in broadsheet format starting next semester


As The Slate celebrated its 60-year history with alumni over the weekend, it also unveiled that the newspaper will be rebranded and redesigned as a broadsheet for next semester.

The current design consists of a book-like format known as a tabloid, where each page is half the size of a typical newspaper. (To understand the difference from a tabloid to a broadsheet, compare The Slate with The New York Times).

The word tabloid is not only defined by its different format from a broadsheet, but by its focus on headlines, photographs and sensational stories, which are often presented in a lurid way.

While The Slate’s mission is to deliver news and entertainment focused on empowering and informing students, the nature of a tabloid format can inherently prevent this.

In the past two decades the height of The Slate’s tabloid has shortened because of printing restrictions. In the 1990s The Slate could fit two stories onto its front page, but now it is reduced to photographs and headlines.

The need for great photography and powerful headlines will never cease at The Slate, but the newspaper’s front page is lacking an important facet of most legitimate news publications — relevant and useful information.

The stories the community wants to read most, like on the presidential search, campus events or profiles, are buried inside the tabloid newspaper.

This is just one reason why The Slate staff spoke to its printer, The Gettysburg Times, about switching to a broadsheet. The design would be a throwback to the 2000s when The Slate first published as a broadsheet.

After careful consideration, the staff agreed the change would serve to improve The Slate, its readership and its capacity to fulfill its mission.

The new, modern look of the newspaper will combine tried-and-true features while exploring new ways to serve the community. Professionalism and creativity will be of the utmost of importance in the newsroom as The Slate moves forward.

Important stories will be placed on the front page, along with a weather overview, page index and teasers of editorials, arts and entertainments, profiles and sports. The longer pages will allow for larger photos, creative graphic design and new layout possibilities.

A significant definitional distinction between a tabloid and broadsheet is the latter is seen as more serious and less sensational than a tabloid. The Slate regards itself as a serious publication where young writers, editors, photographers and others can sharpen their skills while serving their peers.

But definitions are not everything. Just because The Slate will be printed in new format does not mean it is inherently serious or professional. The strength of a student-run newspaper can be measured by the dedication and hard work of talented students.

Based on the stories many alumni shared this past weekend, The Slate has a history of strength and determination. As The Slate looks to the future, it hopes you will consider joining the newspaper staff to enhance your skills and improve your community.


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