The Voice, the UK’s only newspaper aimed at the black community, is going monthly after 37 years as a weekly title.
The London-based title announced the changes on the front of last week’s edition, telling readers it was embarking on an “exciting new direction”.
The new 72-page monthly paper will launch on 26 September at an introductory price of £2.50, which is expected to then rise depending on “how the market responds”.
The weekly edition of the paper has a cover price of £1.
A message to readers in last week’s newspaper (pictured) said: “Within a changing media landscape, we recognise the need to remain relevant while maintaining our core brand values.
“With a rich heritage we are committed to continuing to report on issues that matter to our community. Going forward we will stay connected to, and campaign for, our community and celebrate black excellence.”
The newspaper said in a further statement that it “recognises the need to remain relevant and modern while remaining true to its core brand values” within a “changing media landscape”.
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The change coincides with a relaunch of The Voice website which went live yesterday.
It is hoped the changes both in print and online will “reinforce [the title’s] commitment to the black community and appeal to new readers,” the paper said.
A Voice spokesperson told Press Gazette the newspaper faces the same challenges as other print products, with more readers going online for their news.
“What people want is more in-depth analysis and features and something potentially a bit more meaty monthly,” they said.
“We have ensured that the print publication is just as rich, it will continue to have all the features, news, in-depth interviews, exclusives, it’s going to have a lot more than it used to have.”
They added: “That will continue to be the mainstay for our community, but with that we’ve also said we’ll have to have a stronger online presence.
“The strategy is two-fold – it’s making sure we can still remain relevant and viable in print but also having a digital strategy that works for people that want to consume us online as well.”
The revamped website has been given a “clean design, increased functionality and enhanced content tailored to our readers,” an article announcing the changes said.
According a spokesperson, the Voice newspaper will have more in-depth exclusive pieces, while the website will have its own original content with more videos and podcasts aimed at a 25 to 45-year-old target audience.
They added that there will be a “real shift in making sure the community’s at the heart of what we do at all times”.
Sports and features editor Rodney Hinds told Press Gazette: “Many years ago when The Voice was started, I think one of its successes at the time was its campaigning stance so we’re looking to return to that – taking up issues, whether that be prostate cancer, mental health, which obviously affects our community like everybody else.
“Just really re-engaging with our community, campaigning with them and celebrating them as well.”
Asked if The Voice’s owner, GV Media Group, had considered any other options, such as a free distribution model for the weekly paper, Dyke said going monthly “came up as the most viable option” after research and conversations with clients and staff.
According to the latest available accounts on Companies House, GV Media Group made a loss before tax of £2,100 in the year ending March 2018, and a loss of £2,800 in 2017.
It had a turnover of £603,200 in 2018, down from £763,600 in 2017.