What is a Broadsheet?

A Broadsheet usually refers to large sheets of paper designed with columns which comprise a standard format newspaper. A broadsheet follows a formalized journalistic approach to news coverage with a serious editorial voice and in-depth news stories. The New York Times and The Washington Post are American examples of broadsheets.

How Broadsheets Work

  1. They attract more serious readers

    Broadsheets are more than just the papers on which the copy is written. Broadsheets refer to a more serious approach to journalism. People who read broadsheets want more traditional, in-depth news coverage. In the recent past, broadsheet customers tended to live in the suburbs. These readers had higher educations, better jobs and seemed to enjoy a higher standard of living than tabloid consumers. In the past, it was not uncommon to see suburban commuters from Connecticut taking the train into Manhattan while clutching folded copies of the New York Times. However, today, with the advent of web news sites; newspapers face more competition for readers and ad revenue. Even though many broadsheets have downsized to save money; their commitment to journalistic excellence remains the same.

  2. They are more trustworthy news sources

    In this era of fake news, it is sometimes difficult to distinguish what constitutes reliable news versus superficial news. Broadsheets instill a sense of authority and trustworthiness that tabloids or even some independent digital news sites lack. For instance, The Chicago Tribune and The New York Times were both founded in the 19th century. Given that they are still operating today, generations of readers allocate considerable credibility to these two broadsheets. Additionally, broadsheets use more standardized fonts giving newspapers a more professional yet serious look. Newspapers have also added more color photos and feature articles than in the past. This helps traditional newspapers to stay competitive with web news, and other types of news sources.

  3. They are not tabloids

    Broadsheets and tabloids are very different. While broadsheets take a more conventional journalistic road, tabloids lean towards more fanciful and, in many cases, derogatory reporting. From a purely physical perspective, tabloids are considerably smaller than broadsheets. Given that the tabloids are more condensed, they usually have shorter stories. Although the stories are more condensed and highlight larger fonts and more sensationalist headlines, tabloids enjoy increasing popularity. Broadsheets maintain a more sober tone in their news coverage but tabloids understand the old adage that sex sells. For example, TMZ started out as a physical tabloid newspaper and now has an even stronger presence on television.

Broadsheet Best Practices

  1. Be accurate

    Broadsheets employ fact checkers to confirm politicians' statements, verify statistical information and to back up reporters' stories. In the past, most fact checkers worked anonymously in the background of newsrooms. As a response to the fake news phenomenon, fact checkers are now featured on their own websites, like Politifact. Additionally, editorial teams must ensure that the core facts of any news story are absolutely accurate.

  2. Present interesting stories

    Broadsheets can offer readers serious fare that holds readers' attention without being tabloids. Stories that are well-researched and relevant can also be attention-grabbers.

  3. Keep stories well-written

    Broadsheets have earned their reputations for accuracy and great story-telling with well-written pieces. Good stories use journalistic conventions like writing confidently in the present tense and not over-using punctuation to keep stories compelling.