Newspapers (© Franz Pfluegl /
Newspapers (© Franz Pfluegl /

A broadsheet is a PR and newspaper term for a newspaper that is standard sized. The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and very likely the local newspaper in your city or town, is a broadsheet. Typically broadsheet newspapers measure 16 inches across inches 24 inches vertically. This newspaper format has a marked difference from the tabloid format, which features pages that are much shorter vertically but about the same size across.

The term comes from the popular print, which was a large single sheet sold for a few hundred years from the 15th to the 18th centuries. Popular prints had images as well as text, beginning what European historians call the visual revolution around 1400. The first broadsheet newspaper was a Dutch paper called Courante uytItalien, and like the popular prints that came before it, this paper consistedof a single side with text on it.

The 16 by 24 newspaper is not the only broadsheet size out there. In fact, there are many different sizes of broadsheet depending on which part of the country that you are talking about. In the United States, for example, newspapers have shrunk in size slightly to where now many of them are just 15 inches by nearly 23 inches.

Understanding Broadsheet Size Differences

In the marketing world, particularly when it comes to newspaper advertising, the rate cards for the advertising will refer to the broadsheet size in order to specify how much area someone will be getting for an ad. For example, a full page spread might be one of the options, while another might be half a broadsheet. However, these do not refer to a half a page above the fold and a full-page above and below the fold respectively, but instead usually refer to an inside page, where a full broadsheet would be a full page spread on either side so that you would have a total area of 32 inches by 24 inches on a standard broadsheet newspaper. The half a broadsheet would actually refer to just one side of that.

Newspaper circulars that are inserted into the newspaper with the same format that the newspaper has are also referred to as broadsheet size. It is very rare for a newspaper to sell an ad that is half a broadsheet that extends across both pages. Typically, if a customer buys a half a page or a single broadsheet, they're going to get the standard 16 by 24 inches rather than 32 inches by 12 inches. New Life

Even though the term began with a single page that was not folded, but instead a long or wide single print with images and text, today's broadsheet advertising is almost always accommodating the fold. The fold is one of the most recognizable features of the newspaper.

Broadsheets also originally became popular in order to evade a British tax, which charged the newspaper based upon the number of pages. With broadsheets, they can get more in the paper with less tax owed.

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