What Is a Broadsheet in Regards to Paper Size?

Man laying on sofa with newspaper
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A sheet of paper, typically used for printing standard size newspapers in North America is a broadsheet. One of the standard North American sheet sizes, the term is applied to a variety of actual paper sizes both in the US and other countries.

Single or Half broadsheet refers to the single page size or the folded size of the paper. ​Full broadsheet refers to the full spread (facing pages or basically two broadsheets side-by-side).

Regardless of the actual dimensions, a broadsheet newspaper typically consists of large sheets of paper that are double the broadsheet size that when folded create 4 pages of the newspaper. Several full and half broadsheets are nested together into signatures that make up the full publication. Single broadsheets are 2 back-to-back pages. Single (half) broadsheets or sometimes a full broadsheet are used for advertising inserts. (The finished newspaper is often folded in half again for display in newsstands or folded yet again for home delivery.)

Other common paper sizes are derived from the 17 x 22 inches broadsheet. Cut it in half to get tabloid size (aka ledger). A quarter of a broadsheet is letter size (8.5x11 inches). Cut that letter size in half again for digest size (aka typical booklet size). A broadsheet also refers to any type of large flier or advertisement.

In Australia and New Zealand the term broadsheet is used to refer to papers that are printed on A1 size paper (841 x 594 mm - 33.1" x 23.4").

  • Sheet size of 17 x 22 inches | half broadsheet
  • US Broadsheet: 15 x 22.75 inches (381 x 578 mm) | half broadsheet
  • Sheet size of 18 x 24 inches | half broadsheet
  • British Broadsheet: approximately 14.75 x 23.5 inches (375 x 597 mm) | half broadsheet
  • A2 | NZ/Australian Broadsheet: approximately 16.5 x 23.4 inches (420 x 594 mm) | half broadsheet\
  • NZ/Australian Broadsheet: approximately 33.1 x 23.4 inches (841 x 594 mm) | full broadsheet
  • Approximately 23.5 x 26.5 inches (750 x 600 mm) | full broadsheet

Many newspapers from around the world that are described as being broadsheet size may be larger or smaller than the paper sizes listed above.

The Broadsheet Style

Although broadsheet refers to particular sizes of paper, in common use the term broadsheet refers specifically to newspapers of a certain size and style, i.e. larger, serious publications. When some newspapers switched to a smaller tabloid size of paper (approximately half the size of a broadsheet), they referred to it as compact to avoid an association with traditional tabloid journalism.

A broadsheet is a newspaper that is printed in a large format and is associated with serious journalism as opposed to the smaller format, tabloids. A tabloid is smaller than the broadsheet and is more popular. It uses a simple style, many photographs and sometimes uses sensationalism and emphasis in the stories." 

Beyond their size, broadsheet papers tend to employ a traditional approach to news that emphasizes in-depth coverage and a sober tone in articles and editorials. Broadsheet readers often tend to be fairly affluent and educated, with many of them living in the suburbs.

Sources: Newspaper Sizes, Newspapers: Broadsheet Vs. Tabloid, Yahoo! Voices

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Glossary, Jacci Howard Bear's Desktop Publishing. "What Is a Broadsheet in Regards to Paper Size?" ThoughtCo, Apr. 6, 2017, thoughtco.com/broadsheet-in-printing-1078262. Glossary, Jacci Howard Bear's Desktop Publishing. (2017, April 6). What Is a Broadsheet in Regards to Paper Size? Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/broadsheet-in-printing-1078262 Glossary, Jacci Howard Bear's Desktop Publishing. "What Is a Broadsheet in Regards to Paper Size?" ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/broadsheet-in-printing-1078262 (accessed November 21, 2017).