What is a tabloid?

When somebody tells you they’re reading a tabloid, the National Enquirer is usually what pops into mind, right?

Really, tabloid refers to the format of a paper. The National Enquirer is certainly a tabloid, as is the Winnipeg Sun, but the associations with poor news are cultural.

The Uniter can be called a tabloid, in physical form only. It is taller than the Sun, but I am hesitant to compare us to the Sun, just because we have different editorial aims.

Basically, if a paper isn’t folded or stapled and can read like a magazine, it’s tabloid.

If you unfold it, it’s broadsheet.

There are all sorts of measurement standards that used to nicely fit the designations - tabloid, broadsheet, berliner - but with modern printers, the sizes have easily varied.

You’ll forgive me for doing some Wikipedia research here, but I found that “The New York Times used a typical 22-inch (559 mm) tall by 15-inch (381 mm) wide page, but in 2007 downsized to 20 by 12 in (508 by 305 mm). It still refers to itself as a broadsheet, even though its size is closer to Berliner.

Winnipeg is about to welcome another daily tabloid, The Metro. They will more in competition with the Sun, said Margo Goodhand, editor of the Winnipeg Free Press, Winnipeg’s daily broadsheet.

Image is everything. If you put The Globe and Mail, The Winnipeg Free Press, The Winnipeg Sun, The Uniter, The Manitoban, Uptown and The Metro side-by-side, passers-by would equate The Globe and The Freep together, The Sun with Uptown and The Metro, and the Uniter with the Manitoban.

The editorial content doesn’t matter to on-the-surface impressions. The Globe and The Free Press are very different, as are all the other papers. It remains to be seen how The Metro will fit in to our daily journalism rush, but I look forward to finding out.

One issue of format is practicality. The Uniter stands out, but it also has trouble standing up. In the racks around campus, often issues of The Uniter topple forward and curl up in the top right corner. That’s an argument for shortening or folding right there.

But if we folded, we wouldn’t use the glorious full-page cover images we’re famous for.

We don’t have any plans to change, but time will tell.