JEP: Broadsheet to Tabloid
On 24th February 1977, the Jersey Evening Post announced that it would begin a new era in printing from its new purpose built complex at Five Oaks. The 87 year old history as a broadsheet would come to an end, and it would change to a tabloid size.
They were very careful to put some distance between themselves and the tabloids: “Examine the ‘Daily Mail’ or the newly designed ‘Daily Express’. That is the size we are going to be, but that does not mean we are going to look like them or be like them”.
The 20 page broadsheet edition would become a 40 page tabloid in the new format. Despite the way the paper size varies from day to day, Monday this week was 68 pages, so the increase in page count is still there.
But in 1977, the price was 7p, and it is now 65p! Measuring worth says that “In 2015, the relative value of £0.07 from 1977 ranges from £0.37 to £0.87”. So it is within the range we might expect given inflation.
Before making the change, the JEP commissioned an Island wide survey and undertook extensive research both in Jersey and the UK (which they insist on calling “the mainland”).
“Local research has shown a preference of 7 to 2 in favour of the new format and that not only is it more attractive to younger readers, but also equally acceptable to the more mature reader, who finds difficulty handling and turning the current size of page”
Editor Mike Rumfitt said:
“A change of face for the ‘JEP’ in no way reflects a change of heart, mind or beliefs. Real efforts will be therefore be made to ensure that even though it is more convenient to handle, the new ‘JEP’ will still reflect the thoughts and concerns, the weaknesses and strengths, the success and failures of Jersey as an Island and Jersey as a people.”
Hardbencher, alias Betty Brooke was writing in the JEP at the time. She did the political commentary, often quite barbed but fun. Later, of course, she became a Senator in the States and stopped and I suspect found the frustrations which come from being a pundit offering criticisms and solutions from outside, and trying to get the States to do anything.
I always think of the States rather like a large ship – the Ship of States – which because of its huge bulk and weight, takes a long time to turn to a different direction. The Titanic had those problems, and it is ok, as long as there are no icebergs up ahead. The nautical theme came through in her piece which was entitled “Hardbencher in the HMS Jersey ‘Jollity’”.
Colomberie “Mates” win Court action against UK chain is another story. “Mates” was a retail supplier of men and women’s clothes with 40 outlets, and when they decided to set up shop in Jersey, they discovered another outlet in Colomberie with the same name, “and a similar trading format of selling men and women’s clothing in the same shop”. The joint chairman of the UK “Mates”, Alan Grieve, thought they had a legitimate grievance.
They brought a court action to restrain the local shop from using the name, but it was dismissed by the Deputy Bailiff, Mr Peter Crill, who said that the UK Mates had to prove that their businesses was distinctive and recognised in Jersey, and that there was a possibility of confusion between their business and that of the defendant company. He said there was insufficient evidence to show that the UK “Mates” was well known in Jersey.
Today, of course, they might well have an internet presence which they could use to be more well known locally, and the argument might be harder to sustain.