Page 72 - Print 21 Magazine Nov-Dec 2018
P. 72

Doris Prodanovic
Broadsheet brings back print
Publishers are finding ways to re-engage with their roots by bringing back their print editions, such as Broadsheet, which has been rebooted. Doris Prodanovic speaks with publisher and founder, Nick Shelton, about why he decided to bring back print after a three-year pause.
Having print in one’s communication oeuvre has always held a certain level of suave and intrigue. To see your byline in print is pretty cool. The eye-catching event brochures stacked by the café window always require a quick flip through. Even the overwhelming billboard you can read from more than a hundred metres away can leave you with an aha! moment from a witty tagline. So for Broadsheet founder and publisher, Nick Shelton, it made sense to take the culture and lifestyle publication out from its three-year print hiatus and get back into a paper-based platform.
“Modern media brands do not live in one particular platform; it is about understanding how you can add another string to the bow, and for us it is coming back to this tactile presence which you cannot replicate online,” says Shelton, who first launched Broadsheet
in Melbourne back in 2009. The title has since grown to be one of Australia’s largest online city guides, with an edition specific for all the latest news in restaurants, bars, and events across five capital cities: Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth.
Shelton says a decade ago, the initial aim was to distribute 5,000 printed copies of Broadsheet across Melbourne, in order to complement the digital presence it was building. “We thought, ‘how can we build our brand in areas that make sense to us?’ and that was really in café and hospitality industries. People found our web presence through our print product, and now being back in this format it works as the flagship of our brand, and really highlights the best articles we can have in each city.”
On an early morning coffee in Surry Hills, I came across the October/November issue of Broadsheet, and fittingly, it was in broadsheet size. It was a surprise – I was aware
of Broadsheet online, how was
this the first time I had seen it in
print? Shelton says for the printed
relaunch the distribution hit into
the tens of thousands mark for
both Sydney and Melbourne,
reaching as many establishments
as they could by hand.
“We wanted to give readers this experience where the latest edition is waiting for you in a café or restaurant, and it takes you out of a headspace, where you can
have your cup of coffee, flip through, see the splash of beautiful design, and dip in and out of the stories.
“There is this meandering with print where you can pace yourself – you can engage or pause or skim through – whereas on your phone, you will read it or you won’t. Having Broadsheet in print adds more depth and texture to the brand, and is just as important for our journalists to have this relationship with our audience and as they would over the phone or through a desktop.”
Evidently, Shelton and his teams across
the country are not afraid to challenge the notion of brand offerings – sure, you have a website, but what do you have in print? When Broadsheet stopped its print edition after five years, it turned its focus to strengthening Broadsheet Melbourne online, and susbtituted the tactile experience through a series of books. In 2015, Broadsheet Media published
two – The Broadsheet Melbourne Cookbook and The Broadsheet Sydney Cookbook
– featuring restaurant ready recipes from each city. Shelton tells me he quickly discovered both the readers and the Broadsheet team missed having a print edition, deciding 2018 was the time to relaunch the publications and release a third book:
The Italian Cookbook.
“We want people to interact with Broadsheet in different environments,” he says. “We
have good relationships with chefs and restaurants, and getting these secrets to share is super exciting.”
For me, publishers with tangible titles work a certain magic over their readers. Smartphone scrolling can become tiresome, and there is this sense of something missing if we don’t accompany our morning coffee with something to hold between each sip. Shelton says the presence of the print product is just another part of the growing Broadsheet experience he aims to maintain.
“I think people feel a sense of strength to a brand when it is in print. There are a million websites, but to go to the effort of laying out a print publication and the distribution, it is harder to do and harder to fake.” 21
Broadsheet returns to print with its October/November issue.
“There is this meandering with print where you can pace yourself – you can engage or pause or skim through – whereas on your phone, you will read it or you won’t.”

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