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Youth Weekend launches, The Beijing News retools

China's smallest paper?

A quick rundown on the changing makeup of the market for national weeklies: the weekly paper we all knew as Southern Weekend (南方周末) recently adjusted its nameplate to include the English text "Southern Weekly."

Its parent company, the Southern Media Group, last month launched a weekly lifestyle and entertainment paper named Southern Metropolis Weekly (南都周刊), which is actually published twice a week. On the lifestyle front, it competes directly with Beijing Youth Daily Group's BQ (or "Youth Weekly" 北京青年周刊).

For its part, on 30 March, BYD launched a new title, Y Weekend, which is more of an urban/entertainment/gossip rag.

Y Weekend (青年周末) is billed as "China's smallest small newspaper" - a designation that covers both its physical size (seen here against the tabloid-sized Mirror), as well as its frivolous content. The cover replaces the usual pretty face with teaser text - the second issue is even more cluttered). Interior design is busy to the point of being frenetic, and content is mix of original reporting, reprints of articles from metro newspapers across the country, and forum and blog posts. It resembles nothing so much as one of those free papers handed out at subway stations in major US cities - convenient, easy to read, and essentially insubstantial.

TBN tackles the origins debate

Another Beijing paper, The Beijing News, had been heralding a redesign for several weeks before it quietly arrived last Monday. There were no radical changes, but subtle alterations could be felt on nearly every page. The paper's English name was added to its logo, a flaming beacon tower on the Great Wall, finally providing a replacement for its earlier slogan, "Responsibly Report Everything," which disappeared last November.

One of the most noticeable changes concerned the paper's weekly supplement sections - pictured here is the Monday science section from 3 April, "New-knowledge Weekly" (changed this week to "Neo-knowledge Weekly"). The paper coins the word "knewledge" for the section, whose first issue takes on the creationism-evolution debate. Only obliquely, however - it touches briefly on the controversy engulfing parts of the US before moving on to a general discussion of the present state of evolutionary theory.

More comparative images of the old and new The Beijing News can be found on aside2006's blog (part I, part II).

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