Garcia Predicts Conversion of American Broadsheets to Tabloid

More than a year ago, we wrote about Mario Garcia, a world renown expert on newspaper design, predicting that the majority of the world’s newspapers would became tabloid-sized within his lifetime. Garcia a few years earlier had predicted that a large number of American papers would switch to the smaller format by 2020.

This weekend, Garcia updated and accelerated his predictions. “Based on the happenings of the last two years alone, and primarily the last year, I would say it will happen quicker than that. By 2010 we will have many American papers converting,” he told the Chicago Tribune.

Garcia cited the recent conversions of the British broadsheet the Times and The Independent (and soon The Guardian) to the more compact format, and how readers readily accept that the American tabloids Christian Science Monitor, Long Island Newsday, and Denver Rocky Mountain News offer quality, not sensational, journalism. He also noted that, in his more than 25 years experience on five continents, no research he has conducted has ever shown a reader preference for the larger format.

Conversion of broadsheets to tabloid format is important to electronic publishing as portrait-format electronic reading display devices begin to supercede landscape-format video monitors as this century develops. Today’s broadsheet editions are woefully hard to read on landscape-format monitors, and table PCs, e-books, and e-paper will almost certainly be landscape, not portrait, formatted. Garcia said, “the [broadsheet] newspaper is really sort of anachronistic as a huge blanket which covers you.”