The Cincinnati Enquirer launched a new format and a new design today.

On the left, here, is Sunday’s front page. On the right is today’s.

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This isn’t a tabloid, exactly. This is the new “compact” format. It’s nearly as wide as a broadsheet. And — as you can see from this diagram from the Columbus Dispatch — quite a bit shorter.

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After a number of delays, the Dispatch launched in the new format on Jan. 29. The Enquirer is now printed by the Dispatch.

In addition, the size is similar — but not quite the same — of that of a sister Gannett paper, the Free Press of Burlington, Vt., which made the switch last June.

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Ryan Hildebrandt, creative director of the Gannett Design Studio in Louisville, Ky., where the Enquirer is designed, tells us:

The Enquirer is the second U.S. paper to move to this new size (10.5″ x 14.67″). It’s a completely different format from the broadsheet, which called for entirely rethinking how we present our content. Simply downsizing the current paper, and making the new product a “miniature broadsheet”, would’ve made this paper really underwhelming.

Here’s a larger look at today’s front:

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And here it is again, side-by-side with today’s Kentucky Enquirer front for distribution south of the Ohio River:

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Notice the centerpiece story moves into the above-the-nameplate skybox position.

Ryan continues:

We’ve been working on this project for over a year now. Here in the studio, Jim Kirchner, Spencer Holladay, Tracy Oksendahl, Jeff Ruble, David Leonard, Lindsey Hack, Clay Sisk and Dustin Frucci were instrumental in helping figure out this new format and making it shine.

Editor Carolyn Washburn and the Enquirer newsroom have worked relentlessly to think about their writing, headlines, visuals and pacing from a completely new perspective. [Consultant] Ron Reason and [freelancer] Larry Buchanan also deserve credit in helping the Enquirer staff make huge improvements in their approach to words, tone, alternative story forms and brainstorming. Joe Powell, the Enquirer‘s director of news and print products, was crucial to helping implement the design from the newsroom’s end.

Change from tradition is tough, but the journalists in Cincinnati have been fantastic partners in crafting this new approach. This product is a perfect reflection of the great work being done by the Enquirer staff, who have created a better newspaper for their readers.

Ryan also sent along a number of live pages from today’s paper and prototype pages his folks have worked up over the past few weeks.

Today’s cover story appears on page A4. Click this — or any page here today — for a much larger look:

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Here’s the new opinion page, which appears today on A10.

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And here’s today’s local front on page B1, with a stand-alone illustration referring to a cover story on page B3 and a column down the right side.

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The new weather page is especially illustrative. This is an unedited prototype of the new page A2.

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And, of course, the Monday paper is typically one of the week’s smallest. As the week rolls on, readers will find new formats for the Wednesday food section…

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…the Thursday weekend entertainment section…

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…and the Saturday home section.

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Sunday’s paper will include a number of sections including Forum…

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…and a new section called “good news.”

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The Enquirer‘s publicity material for the redesign states:

Our new section highlights the content we’ve been giving you all along, plus features on people and events. This section supports kids, families and businesses who do good things across Greater Cincinnati.

Those last five pages were all prototypes.

Sports went live today, of course. I don’t have a live sports front to show you,

UPDATE – 7 p.m. PDT

Ron Reason invited me to pick up live sports pages from his blog.

Here is today’s front…

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And these facing pages deliver that cover story today.

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And now, back to my original post…

…but I do have a prototype of the new sports front page.

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These prototype pages show a nice sports column on page C2, a football insider column on C3…

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…and more NFL coverage on C4 and C5. Obviously, these pages were built just as the Bengals wrapped up their season.

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Note the liberal use of graphic elements, pullout boxes and large photos.

The Enquirer also published a 14-page special section that didn’t tell readers how to read their new paper as much as it did reintroduce the paper to readers.

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I don’t know how intentional it was, but that cover illustration reminds me of another product launch, from 29 years ago:

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Page two gives editor Carol Washburn a chance to greet readers and explain how subscribing to the print edition gains online access. Page three begins a rundown on all the new features.

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One interesting bit there: At a time when some newspapers are killing their weekly TV pullout sections, the Enquirer is touting an improved TV book.

Page four and five take a look at local coverage and local reporters, led by my former Des Moines colleague, senior editor Randy Essex.

Pages six and seven cover biz, opinion, Sunday forum and all the new features sections.

Page eight covers sports.

Page nine, above right, starts a six-page unit that introduces the Enquirer‘s staff.

Here are pages 10 and 11…

…and pages 12 and 13. Note the red dot from the “i” in Enquirer on page nine that’s popped off and bouncing around the remainder of the section.

The final page, 14, covers the Enquirer‘s photographers, copy editors and digital content team.

As you might imagine, all this was accompanied with a ton of stories looking back at the Enquirer and its history:

Average daily circulation for the Cincinnati Enquirer is 144,165.