Broadsheet is a size and format for newspapers, and a descriptive term applied to papers which use that format rather than the smaller tabloid format. Broadsheets measure roughly 29½ by 23½ inches (74.9 by 59.7 cm) per spread, twice the size of a standard tabloid. Historically, broadsheets were developed when in 1712 a tax was placed on British newspapers based on the number of their pages.
The broadsheet has since emerged as the most popular format for the dissemination of printed news. The world's most widely circulated English language daily broadsheet is The Times of India, a leading English language daily newspaper from India, followed closely by USA Today and The New York Times from the United States, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations.
Broadsheet newspapers tend to be more intellectual in content than their tabloid counterparts, examining stories in more depth and carrying sensationalist and celebrity stories less often. However, while this distinction is widely used, some tabloid papers (particularly the Daily Mail and Daily Express) point out that the term "tabloid" strictly refers only to the paper size, and often use phrases such as "broadsheet quality in a tabloid format". Broadsheets often publish supplements, such as sports reviews and less news-oriented content (e.g. the Guardian's "G2" or the Times's "Times 2"), in tabloid format.
In the UK, two major daily broadsheets are distributed nationwide, and four on a Sunday: two generally on the right wing politically, and two more left wing.:
Other prominent UK broadsheets include The Herald, which is not a true national newspaper, as it is mostly distributed in Scotland. The Financial Times is also printed and sold in other countries; as the British equivalent of the Wall Street Journal, it lends its most detailed attention to financial news.
The average circulation of the Times is around 661,000 and the Telegraph sells 908,000 copies daily, while the circulations of the Guardian and Independent are more approximately 380,000 and 265,000. The Financial Times sells over 400,000 copies, the Scotsman maybe 70,000 (all figures July 2004).
Switch to smaller sizes
In 2003 The Independent started concurrent production of both broadsheet and tabloid ("compact") editions, carrying exactly the same content. The Times did likewise, but with less apparent success, with readers vocally opposing the change. The daily Independent ceased to be available in broadsheet format in May 2004, and The Times followed suit from November 2004; the Scotsman is also now published only in tabloid format. The Guardian plans to switch to the "Berliner" or "midi" format found in some other European countries (slightly larger than a traditional tabloid) by 2006.
The main motivation cited for this shift is that commuters prefer papers which they can hold easily on public transport, and it is presumably hoped that other readers will also find the smaller formats more convenient. It remains to be seen how this shake-up will affect the usage of the term "broadsheet".
Last updated: 08-25-2005 14:30:26