Editorial: Introducing a proud news tradition with modern voice

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How the new format newspaper will look.  Photo / Herald Graphic
How the new format newspaper will look. Photo / Herald Graphic

Herald's new look brings fresh commitment to provide good journalism

Today's edition of the New Zealand Herald marks a profound change in the way we bring you the news. After 148 years and nine months of daily publication, the newspaper not only appears in a smaller format but also stakes its claim to a clear and important role in a digital world.

We have reconceived the paper as a modern voice of news, debate and entertainment alongside the six different digital and four social media versions of the Herald, which together serve an audience of 1.4 million readers a week. It is, we hope, an unmissable statement of our commitment to good journalism in all its forms, presented and edited for ease of reading, understanding and enjoyment, whether on a page or a screen.

The changes go far beyond the physical appearance of the paper. In upgrading the Herald, we have had a good, hard look at the daily journalism we produce and how it should complement the nzherald.co.nz website and mobile and tablet content.

We have also reviewed and refined what it is the Herald stands for.

We have new targets for original and investigative journalism, with the print edition looking ahead to today and tomorrow's news as well as making sense of the day just gone. We promise to seek out and explain what is really going on behind the headlines, to take up issues on readers' behalf and to campaign for the best interests of Auckland and New Zealand. An unwritten mantra for the newsroom will be, in the words of a US writer from another era, to tell the truth and raise hell.

Throughout the day our journalists will report and comment on breaking and setpiece news events on digital platforms. In print, we intend to start each day with revelations, inquiries or angles that will lead the news agenda.

So why a smaller format? The simple answer is we believe, and reader research confirms, that the compact size on weekdays is more convenient than the broadsheet around breakfast tables, staff rooms, on worksites, work stations and public transport.

Our new design, homegrown but with extensive input from Australian and European experts, was chosen for easier reading. It has a new heading and body type, a distinct colour palette and new techniques for packaging and presenting information. A paper in three daily sections has found favour in reader focus groups for its ability to be shared among families, flats and workmates.

The new "H" masthead, sitting above our traditional gothic nameplate, underlines the pride we have in the New Zealand Herald's place in this country's heritage and its long identity with its people and the issues that concern them. It is also our future, the icon on digital apps, our brand in physical and electronic communications.

It goes without saying that the internet has made the searching, collating and sharing of information much easier. Community engagement is greater and deeper. People are using the Herald's digital platforms, which from today include a greatly upgraded website and an app on Facebook, in rising numbers. We will continue to anticipate reader needs and be where our audience wants to be.

At the same time, readers tell us that time spent with the physical newspaper is time apart, often regarded as "my time" and distinct from the experience of using a screen. The paper offers a comparability across subjects and editorial judgments, a shared experience for discussion around the water cooler or meal table. We aim to be a community hub and a trusted companion.

Today, we restate our commitment to all that you, the readers, seek from compelling, insightful journalism. The Herald is a smaller paper, but it will be smarter and deeper.

- NZ Herald

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