What Is Broadsheet Paper Size?

Broadsheet is a size and a journalism tradition

Man laying on sofa with newspaper
Getty Images/Muriel de Seze

If you still subscribe to a print version of your local newspaper, open it all the way up so you can see two full pages at once. You are looking at a broadsheet-size sheet of paper. You are also looking at a traditional form of print publication that is struggling to remain relevant in the digital age.

Broadsheet Size

In printing, particularly in the printing of full-size newspapers in North America, a broadsheet is typically—but not always—29.5 by 23.5 inches. The dimensions may vary slightly, usually as a result of efforts to save money. This large sheet size is usually loaded onto a web press in huge rolls and cut to its final sheet size as it comes off the end of the press, right after it is collated with other sheets and before it is folded.

Half broadsheet refers to paper that is the size of a broadsheet that has been folded in half. It is the same height as the broadsheet but only half as wide. A broadsheet newspaper section typically consists of several large broadsheets of paper that are nested with one or more half broadsheets to make up the full publication. The finished newspaper is then often folded in half again for display in newsstands or folded yet again for home delivery.

In Australia and New Zealand, the term broadsheet is used to refer to papers that are printed on A1 size paper, which is 33.1 inches by 23.5 inches. Many newspapers around the world that are described as being broadsheet size are somewhat larger or smaller than the standard U.S. broadsheet size.

The Broadsheet Style

A broadsheet newspaper is associated with serious journalism, more so than its smaller cousin, the tabloid. A tabloid is considerably smaller than the broadsheet. It displays a simple style and many photographs and sometimes uses sensationalism in stories to attract readers. 

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 tend to be fairly affluent and educated, with many of them living in the suburbs. Some of these tendencies have changed as newspapers deal with the competition of web news. Although they still stress in-depth factual coverage, modern newspapers are no strangers to photos, use of color and feature-style articles. 

Broadsheet as a Type of Journalism

At one point in time, serious or professional journalism was found predominantly in broadsheet size newspapers. Tabloid size newspapers were less serious and often sensationalist, covering much more celebrity news and alternative or fringe news topics.

Tabloid journalism became a derogatory term. Today many traditionally broadsheet publications are downsizing to tabloid size (also referred to as compact) papers.

Broadsheets and the Designer

Unless you work for a newspaper publisher, you won't be called on to design an entire broadsheet, but you may very well be asked by clients to design advertisements to appear in the newspaper. Newspaper design is based on columns, and the width of those columns and the space between them varies. Before you design an ad, contact the newspaper where the ad will appear and get the specific measurements for that publication.