The current Standard newspaper is slightly bigger than Nation.

Standard newspapers are set for another relaunch, which is expected to add some verve to its journalism ahead of the next elections. The rebrand will come with a redesign of the whole paper and tweaking of content to appeal more to readers and advertisers.

The new-look Standard will be unveiled on March 28th for the daily edition, while the weekend editions from April 1st.  People familiar with the matter say that apart from the redesign, which is being led by consultants from the US, the length of the newspaper will reduce by almost an inch to match the Nation, as part of a trend that has seen the size of newspapers reduce to what is called in newspaper lingo as Berliner.

This smaller size newspaper started in Berlin, Germany, but was popularized by The Independent newspaper of the UK before many other newspapers around the world started adopting it. It loved for its size makes it is easier to carry and read even in crowded areas.

For Standard, the reduction will help it cut the cost of newsprint, one of the biggest expenses in the production of newspapers. Insiders say two magazine pullouts will be introduced in the new-look standard. The education pullout could make a comeback to replace Wednesday magazine that currently carries general features.

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The Standard has been revamping its content since the media house tapped Joseph Odindo, a former Nation editorial director, to head its newsroom. Admittedly, the quality of its content and editing has improved markedly, with readership numbers growing.

The weekend editions, which had dropped to their lowest, have begun gaining some life with the entry of Denis Galava as managing editor. Insiders say circulation figures for weekend have improved to an average of 75,000 copies, up from 50,000, as it aspires to catch up with its rival Nation, where Saturday and Sunday circulation has reportedly dropped.

Standard will use the relaunch to unveil its new writers, both in-house and columnists, with an eye to gaining more readership during the campaign and elections.

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Newspapers, just like other brands, often fall back to a relaunch to excite the market even though sometimes the biggest change is often the design and the impact withers weeks later. If Standard gets it right especially with content, it can give Nation a run for its money. More readers would help it attract more adverts from the private sector in the wake of a government ban on advertising in private media.

But the relaunch handlers have to be careful for the relaunch not to boomerang, like it happened to The Star newspaper which started nosediving immediately for its relaunch in March last year. The industry will be watching as Standard holds the dubious distinction of being the most relaunched newspaper in the country.

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