Daily Newspaper of the Year Above 400,000 Monthly Reach
Scroll down to see the nominees for Daily Newspaper of the Year Above 400,000 Monthly Reach– sponsored by Camelot.
Camelot is proud to support the Society of Editors’ Regional Press Awards.
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The select panel of experienced senior journalists or former journalists from all parts of the media considered the achievements of each of the entries across all platforms set out in submissions by editors. The judges were looking for service to the local community, great exclusives and successful campaigns, editorial achievements and other outstanding journalism.
Express & Star
The Express & Star is the biggest selling regional newspaper in England.
We fully embrace the world of the internet – but we also value newsprint.
The paper still has five editions each day, with unique content in news and sport for Wolverhampton, Dudley, Sandwell, Walsall and Staffordshire.
And we run the online and in-print operation combined, ensuring we provide engaging and up-to-the-minute material on our digital channels but never taking our eye off the quality of the product coming off our presses each day.
With that philosophy in mind, it was decided to fully staff the newsroom for election night. While expressandstar.com provided live coverage, our reporters were also working through the early hours towards a 7am print time. The result was 15 pages of election coverage, with results and reports from reporters at 21 counts in our region. The final result from our counts came just 30 minutes before the print room button was pressed.
There was also time for in-depth analysis and reports on the local and national picture to provide readers with a detailed in-print account of the night, 24 hours ahead of our regional print rivals.
The Express & Star has traditionally boasted one of the highest story counts of any regional newspaper. That remains true, with the over-riding priority of giving readers value for money through unrivalled quantity and quality of content. But a redesign later in the year has also made it easier to read and negotiate, with all sections of the paper given a fresh look that has made the product more coherent as a whole.
The main principle of our operation is to provide information to readers that is readable, informative and entertaining.
It is also to break stories that are of importance and to explain them in detail and with clarity.
The Express & Star had already broken the exclusive story in February that former Labour minister Ian Austin was quitting the party over anti-Semitism and unhappiness at its leader Jeremy Corbyn. In November came the bombshell that the outgoing MP was urging people to vote Conservative, a move revealed in another exclusive by our Political Editor Peter Madeley. He travelled to Westminster with a photographer to hear why a man with three decades of service to Labour was now tuning his back on the party. The story continued to lead the agenda through the election campaign and readers heeded his advice – his seat and others including both West Bromwich seats were dramatically won by the Conservatives.
The Express & Star is a campaigning newspaper, so when we exclusively broke the story earlier in the year that Acorns Hospice was facing the prospect of closing its Walsall centre, we decided to get involved. We first highlighted a disparity in government funding, which led to a national outcry and the arrangement of political meetings at Westminster during which a resolution was found. That still left Acorns with a £2 million funding shortfall for the next two years, without which the hospice would close.
The Save Acorns campaign was set up in June with a special text line for readers to give. By the end of the year more than £500,000 had already been raised and the closure was called off. It is a campaign we continue to support, with the aim of reaching the £2 million figure by the summer of 2021. The issue of hospice funding is also one that the newspaper continues to campaign on. The Government has committed itself to increasing the money it gives to children’s hospices. It is a promise that we intend to ensure it keeps.
There are plenty of other ways the Express & Star makes a difference.
Our annual Feed a Family campaign has run for four years, with more than 14,000 donations this year given by readers and local businesses – all going to help people across our region in need in the run up to Christmas.
Since 2017 we have celebrated the achievements of our readers through the Great Big Thank You Awards. We are also part of the Wolverhampton Young Citizen Award.
The E&S is also helping to attract the next generation of scientists through its groundbreaking STEM Challenge, which this year involved 16 secondary schools and a host of businesses. It generated advertising revenue and greatly enhanced our contacts with schools and business.
The annual E&S Business Awards attracted hundreds of entries, brought in significant revenue and culminated in a glittering set-piece event.
Our Ladder campaign to boost apprenticeships in the region is about to be relaunched after a successful first wave of young people getting into work.
And our Star Witness photographic gallery on Instagram now has more than 8,000 followers and 300 images. The gallery engages with a younger audience and also produce some stunning pictures for our main newspaper.
Online, expressandstar.com was up by just under six per cent to 142 million page views. The growth was driven by page views for news rising by 21 per cent. This strong performance in news – which represents the biggest increase over the last five years – is the result of the new workflow implemented over the last 12 months that combines the operation for online and print.
From campaigns to exclusives to fine ground breaking local initiatives, the Express and Star still produces five editions a day – a rarity in this era of cut backs. The campaign to boost apprenticeship numbers shows its commitment to the communities it serves.
Hull Daily Mail
In a year where I quietly acknowledged 40 years in journalism, it was heartening to yet again witness the superb endeavours and talent shown by those who will be responsible for the future of our fine industry.
The negative comments that surround our chosen calling are not recognised in this northern outpost. In Hull we have campaigns not clickbait; we are fiercely local not generic, promoting communities and individuals while reserving the right to hold to account those that fall short of meeting the expectations of our audience.
We listen to those who criticise us but ignore the trolls who seek to harm and hurt the team. There is no grandstanding in Hull. We all roll our sleeves up and get on with the job. We work together and the culture is positive in a world where gratification is instant but so is damnation. And we strive for consistency of effort and quality in all we do.
The Hull Daily Mail has been one of Yorkshire’s biggest selling regional newspapers for many years while Hull Live is the biggest regional digital platform in the county and in the top 10 in the country.
The Mail is a ‘boots on the ground’ news operation. We are deeply committed to the community we serve in Hull and East Yorkshire and engage heavily with our readers. Traditional journalism such as patch reporting, covering councils, health committees and courts combine with a ‘digital first’ strategy to ensure we continue to be a first point of call for news, sport and entertainment. We embrace the diverse and try and give help to the distraught.
We feel incredibly proud and lucky to be the current custodians of a paper that began in 1885. We do not dwell on the past but fight hard to build a future in our ever-changing world. Yes, things change but change can be good. We get involved.
Our successful recent campaigns have included highlighting a lack of mental health care for young men, our continuing bid to highlight the dangerous growth of knife crime in our region in our #NoMoreKnives articles and a successful bid to help win funding to build a Maritime Museum in the city.
We decided to launch a campaign focused on men’s mental health because they are overwhelmingly more likely to take their own lives. In fact, suicide is the biggest killer of men under 45 but men do not talk about it.
The campaign is called Speak Up for this reason. We are not arrogant enough to believe we can solve this issue. But what we can do is shine a spotlight on an issue which has been in the shadows for too long. More than 40,000 people read it online alone and it was shared widely on social media.
Since then, our team has interviewed many families of men who have died by suicide and who have thanked us for highlighting this important issue. We have also helped raise more than £2,000 for men’s help group Andy Man’s Club.
With more than 357,000 followers across all platforms, Hull Live is using social media to share content, spark debate and interact with readers in tandem with the paper. The complement each other.
Our Instagram audience has grown by 61 per cent in the last year to more than 34,000 and we now receive an average of 60,000 page views a month through Instagram Stories – a 71 per cent rise year-on-year and the second highest figure in the Reach PLC regional network. We have also used our main Facebook page – which has 184,000 followers – to connect with our audience.
Within minutes of the disappearance of Libby Squire being announced by police, we launched a live blog which was filled with minute-by-minute updates until her body was tragically found weeks later. The newspaper coverage was equally extensive.
More than 19 million page views in a month and more than one million page views in a single day were achieved but it wasn’t simply about reporting the story – we wanted to help.
We created a missing person poster which was shared 11,000 times on Facebook, reaching more than 780,000 people. We did a number of live Facebook videos from police press conferences, the scene of searches and the location Libby was last seen. We posted on Facebook asking people to share a simple heart emoji to show that Libby and her family were in their thoughts. It generated more than 10,000 comments of support.
We knew people in the community were very concerned, so we made a public pledge to only report the facts around the case. We explained this to our readers with a Facebook post and answered all of their questions. Our coverage on Libby’s disappearance has won praise from readers and industry colleagues, but most importantly from Libby’s family and friends.
One reader said: “I’ll be the first to admit that the coverage of Libby’s case has been exceptional. Sticking to the stone cold facts without spreading rumours or fear.”
Perhaps the most touching message came from one of Libby’s friends, who wrote: “Your reports are really something I have a lot of trust in and bring me so much comfort. If only every newspaper reported with the respect that you do.”
And those relationships are most important allowing us, for example, to celebrate the life and not mourn the death of the colourful Melissa Ede – a person who trusted us and became a friend of all of us – and to remain close to an horrific child murder case for five years with exclusive background access and a police force who asked for a copy of the front page as proof their efforts had finally been worth it.
We are still a paper of record. Our industry is in good hands. And it is simply the best job in the world.
The Hull Daily Mail boasts campaigns not clickbait, is fiercely local not generic, and puts the promoting of communities and individuals right up there – and how it lives up to those lofty ideals! Wonderful example of how believing in local journalism brings its rewards.
Manchester Evening News
The Manchester Evening News had a spectacular 2019, covering a compelling mix of content from dramatic live news to football triumphs; influential campaigns to shocking investigations.
This rich diet was presented in an attractive, compelling and impactful way. Great designs and read-me headlines from back to front. From the powerful, to the poignant; from emotive to entertaining, the designs and headlines did justice to the incredible content from a growing team of live journalists.
Among all this, without a beat being missed, we also became a seven-day operation with the advent of the MEN on Sunday.
News was the bedrock of 2019 and we had plenty. Terrorism, sadly, reared its head again during 2019 with two lone-wolf attacks in the city centre. The coverage on January 1 of the attack at Manchester’s Victoria Railway station set the benchmark for the year. Top reporting presented in a powerful, thoughtful and responsible way. The same applied with the horrific knife attacks in the Arndale shopping centre later in the year, captured so dramatically with pictures from the scene.
Away from these huge news events, the MEN strengthened its reputation for nationally-important investigative social journalism. Compelling special reports on the homeless and of the scores of families forced to live in squalor in B&Bs in Manchester led to questions being raised in Parliament and action being taken by the local authority.
The MEN was at the forefront of the Power up the North campaign, run in conjunction with publishers across the North. It was the MEN’s Ronald Reagan-inspired Tear Down this Wall front page, which unveiled a report comparing the north-south divide to that of East and West Germany at reunification, that led directly to the Power up the North collaboration.
The campaign continued with a Manifesto for the North that put the region at the centre of the 2019 General Election campaign and led to key policy pledges from both main parties. It was the MEN that exclusively broke Labour’s pledge to relocate half the treasury to the North.
With a growing reputation for brilliant politics coverage, the race for the reins of power in Whitehall was given great treatment during the General Election. The MEN brought out an election edition at 12.30am and, four hours later, a thoroughly updated second edition detailing the Tory landslide. We were on the streets at 6am telling our readers that Boris had romped home – not an exit-poll educated guess, but facts with the results. Not many regional newspapers could match such coverage.
In Manchester, there’s often as much going on at the back of the paper as the front. United appointing Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as permanent manager kept the Red half engrossed, while City’s march to a `fourmidable’ four trophies, including another Premier League title, kept the Blue half delirious.
The MEN helped the former ‘noisy neighbours’ celebrate their success with a 16-page Champions pull-out, followed by another on their victorious parade around the city centre. On top of that, we produced a pullout on captain Vincent Kompany when he announced he was leaving the club; plus a 64-page stand-alone special detailing the title-winning season.
Wherever Manchester people; their interests; their passion and their welfare is – the Manchester Evening News is there. We’re on their side, through thick and thin, joy and sadness.
Another spectacular year for the MEN, proving once again why it is a world-class title. The enthusiasm and dedication shine through. Never a paper to rest on its past glories, the MEN proves time and again why it succeeds in one of the nation’s most vibrant media regions.
The Cambridge News
The Cambridge News is a busy six-days-a-week newspaper which has been part of the community for more than 130 years.
In recent years we have undergone a number of vital efficiency changes which means the paper is put together by a much smaller team than it was just a couple of years ago. We take pride in these changes and the fact the paper strongly represents the region and its readers’ values.
In previous years we would have been in the category for below 15,000 circulation, but due to our large reach online (of which we are really proud) we have moved up to this category. This is testament to the hard work of everyone at Cambridge News and its associated website CambridgeshireLive to provide unparalleled coverage of Cambridge and its surrounding villages, towns and cities.
I believe these three editions show what a small and dedicated team can do, when it is committed to delivering high quality journalism, is in tune with its readers and has their best interests at heart.
Our first edition shows an excellent example of campaigning journalism, and how we have managed our BBC Local Democracy Reporter contract for the wider good.
Former Cllr Donald Adey moved from Cambridge to Scotland in early 2018, yet refused to stand down and instead continued to claim combined annual allowances of £14,500 from being a representative on both Cambridge City Council and Cambridgeshire County Council.
Our former Local Democracy Reporter Josh Thomas confronted him outside meetings and I splashed his face on the front of the paper on numerous occasions yet Cllr Adey seemed impervious to the outcry from our readers.
The last straw came when Josh uncovered that all but one of Cambridgeshire County Councillors had taken a 1.2% cut in their allowances in solidarity with council workers they had imposed a pay cut on. The only councillor that didn’t take a cut in their allowance was Cllr Donald Adey. He then started to refuse to take Josh’s calls.
The only way to get an answer was to travel to Scotland to knock on his front door.
Since the launch of the Local Democracy Reporter Service we’ve aimed to provide the best possible service. I was happy to incur the expense of a trip that would fall solely on my budget because it would benefit all our partners and the community at large.
The reward for the 800-mile round trip was a flabbergasted Donald Adey who gave Josh an interview and made some astonishing admissions.
Josh’s package of work was delivered to the Local Democracy Reporting Service wire under embargo for all partners to use from the Monday morning – setting the political agenda in Cambridge.
This edition shows the value power of a newspaper fully engaged in its community, leveraging its combined might with that of the BBC to shine a light in places people like Donald Adey would rather we didn’t. He eventually stood down from both councils some weeks after.
Our second edition shows the Cambridge News’ commitment to helping improve the communities it covers.
Our inaugural Surviving Winter campaign is an example of a newspaper working collaboratively with local charities to great effect. Launched in November on the front of the paper – the campaign is currently £1,000 short of its £25,000 goal as winter closes. When we sat down to discuss the campaign with Cambridgeshire Community Foundation we knew the target was ambitious, but wanted to present a challenge to ourselves and our readers.
During the campaign, Channel 4’s Dispatches programme covered a family in Cambridge that could not afford to heat their home and had decided to move to Hull due to the high cost of living. We used video footage from the documentary to really ramp up our appeal online and it helped galvanise our readers. This is proof of a newspaper that is willing to use every opportunity it can to push its agenda, and help be a positive actor in its community.
On the back of the success of this campaign we have already decided with the Cambridgeshire Community Foundation to run the appeal next winter to help make sure that no one goes cold.
Our final edition shows the way a newspaper can speak for its readers in a time of great sorrow and anguish.
The front page of this edition is the 14th and final draft that went through many iterations as head of print Debby Thompson and editor David Bartlett worked for hours on a Sunday afternoon to get the tone right.
When we were putting this edition together we really had Jack and Saskia’s family and friends in mind. Both Jack and Saskia were dedicated to improving lives for other people and we felt that this was the image that they would want presented to the world.
Cambridge is a small, tight-knit city where community connections run deep. As the local paper we are keenly aware of our responsibility and duty to be true to those values, and believe our front page demonstrates this.
We also felt that moving the masthead to the bottom of the page, with the pictures of flowers at the scene of the attack as the background image, would allow us to better deliver the right tone and amplify their message of positivity in the face of evil.
Inside is a package of coverage that the weekend team of the Cambridge News and its companion website CambridgeshireLive worked tirelessly to put together with great sensitivity.
Once it became clear after the attack that Jack and Saskia were from Cambridge, I took the decision that the terrorist’s face should not appear on the front page of the paper or our homepage. I felt this was an important step for our newsroom and our readers because it made clear that the victims and their friends and families would be at the heart of our coverage. We have not deviated from that approach in the intervening months.
From chasing a councillor all the way to Scotland for a story, to sensitively covering a double tragedy that shocked the city region, the Cambridge News team, despite reducing in staffing numbers, saw their reach increase dramatically and for good reason. A fabulous example of a top rate title.
With a series of sensational splashes underlining our proud masthead commitment that ‘Local Matters’, The Courier led the news agenda in 2019 and confidently demonstrated why it should be named Scottish Press Awards Newspaper of the Year.
The stand out news event of the year in Tayside and Fife was the trial of those accused of the brutal slaying of Angus oil worker Steven Donaldson.
The Courier owned the story from the get-go, was the first news provider in Scotland to publish images of the accused and became the trusted source for news from the High Court trial, which culminated in our designed, cross-edition front page ‘Killers’ splash of May 4 and eight pages of news inside.
However, the conclusion of the trial was only the tip of the iceberg of our comprehensive coverage of this harrowing but important case.
The Courier team, led by Angus chief reporter Graham Brown, looked at every aspect of the killing and its impact on the community.
Our strong, accurate reporting gained the trust of Steven Donaldson’s family and we carried a number of exclusive interviews detailing their pain at his loss and the solace they had found in the outpouring of support from the community at large.
Our digital operation significantly enhanced our comprehensive in-paper coverage with live tweeting from the conclusion of trial, explanatory videos of where and what happened and associated graphics.
In October, Dundee chief reporter Stefan Morkis’s exclusive report on the suspension of Dundee University rector, Professor Andrew Atherton, met with disbelief.
However, the immaculately researched report was absolutely on the money, exposing a toxic culture of infighting at the very top of one of Dundee’s most important institutions.
Just days after our front-page splash, the tenure of Professor Atherton, brought into drive the university into a dynamic new era, ended abruptly with his resignation from his £298,000-a-year post.
The investigate powers of senior reporter Derek Healey were also put to good use in 2019.
His dogged determination saw him push past a wall of silence and serve up a series of exclusives about a multi-million pound contract scandal at Dundee City Council.
Derek not only revealed that a £8.3m fire safety project had been handed to a private contractor without completion of the normal tendering process or any due diligence, but that a number of council staff had enjoyed an undeclared sunshine golfing break in Spain with senior figures from the company awarded the contract.
The fall-out from The Courier’s investigation is ongoing, but it has already claimed a number of scalps within the council.
Each of the stories we have put forward in support of our Newspaper of the Year submission demonstrate The Courier’s commitment to excellence in local journalism.
The Courier lives and breathes Tayside and Fife and will continue to use our platforms to expose wrongdoing, tell the heart-warming and heartbreaking stories of the people who live and work in our communities and bang the campaigning drum in their best interests.
Superb coverage and exclusives that would make any national title proud. The people of Dundee and the region are well served by a paper that will go the extra mile to get the story – and get it right.
After serving the nation since 1783, how do you freshen up a much-loved institution of the Scottish press?
Did we copy what had gone before – a formula that has worked over centuries – or create a new, fresh, modern newspaper that packed a punch, but didn’t follow the pack, in terms of its look, content and the way it was produced? This conversation led to the re-design of The Herald, and here’s why we think it deserves to be Newspaper of the Year.
As paginations fall, there’s a temptation to trim back the lead so we can fit in one extra story but this can sometimes lead to a ‘muddled’ looking page.
So we created ‘matrix’ pages, where many smaller stories are displayed neatly and creating room to give the bigger stories – exclusive content from our team of excellent journalists – a much better show.
And that content regularly sets the agenda:
•How a bogus psychiatrist is believed to have carried out unnecessary electric shock therapy on patients;
•The ferry crisis threatening island communities and the scandal of the unbuilt ferries in a shipyard ill-equipped to build them;
•The relentless closure of bank branches and free-to-use ATM’s which affect the most vulnerable in society the hardest;
•The scandal of toxic land which threatens the health of residents in the country’s largest city;
•The poor performance and cost-cutting at national train operator Scotrail which eventually led to the firm to be stripped of the franchise early by Ministers
All good quality and hard-hitting journalism which complimented our industry leading business and political coverage of events at both Westminster and at Holyrood too.
The Herald has always been known for its’ insightful opinion and analysis so we decided to take this strength and make it even stronger. Herald voices was created to showcase the views and opinions of everyone from readers to star columnists across five pages. This included our great cartoonist Steven Camley, who offers a whimsical look at the day’s events while offering a sombre tone when the need arises.
Excellent journalism, insightful analysis, fresh design, great features, unrivalled business and political coverage. Every day we offer our readers more and at the same time increasing our digital presence to provide a first-rate product across all the platforms.
Our Saturday offer is our premium product, selling 5000 extra copies at a 40p higher cover price than the daily paper. This is largely down to our 96-page cold-set Herald Magazine. It runs long-form features running to 2500words and covers everything from showbusiness interviews to foreign reportage, human interest and nostalgia. Our unrivalled 29-page Scottish Arts section, is home to the high arts such as classical and dance, as well as TV, music, books and film. We have a self-generated lifestyle section featuring restaurant reviews, gardening, travel, recipes from Scotland’s top chefs and have expanded our food, outdoor and TV coverage to better reflect our readers’ interests.
Excellence in journalism is the aim for this new-look old favourite – and it shines through with this entry. Always a tremendous champion for the Scottish nation as a whole, the Herald is a true example of journalism at its very best. A long history, but as relevant today as when founded.
The Irish News
The Irish News had an outstanding 2019 overall while achieving the best daily or Sunday ABC performance in the UK regional newspaper industry for the second consecutive year.
In an intensely competitive sector, in which a majority of titles suffered double digit falls, the trade website Hold The Front Page (October 8) confirmed that our drop of five per cent, to 31,995, kept us as the market leader.
Our highest individual sale of the year came when a striking front page cartoon, as part of our full general election package, depicted ordinary voters chasing politicians back to their offices in the suspended Northern Ireland Assembly (December 14).
It was a memorable image which was cited by commentators as reflecting the public mood and preparing the way for the return of the power-sharing administration which followed within weeks.
We previously put an equally firm spotlight on politics through our approach to the funeral of the journalist and campaigner Lyra McKee (April 25), after she was shot dead by a dissident republican group while observing a riot in Derry.
Our front page video-grab captured the dramatic moment in Belfast’s St Anne’s Cathedral when prominent figures, including Theresa May, Jeremy Corbyn and Leo Varadkar as well as the main Stormont leaders, eventually rose to their feet to applaud an impassioned demand from Fr Martin Magill that a new political beginning should follow. It was accompanied by the editorialised headline, Time To Step Up, as well as a comprehensive range of reports, analysis and opinion.
When an appalling tragedy at a Co Tyrone hotel left three teenagers dead after a crush outside a St Patrick’s night disco, it was essential that the tone of our nine pages of coverage was appropriate (March 19). We gave careful thought to our presentation while providing measured accounts of the circumstances and sensitive profiles of the victims, as well as including compelling first person pieces from both a young survivor and a mother whose daughter came home traumatised but physically unharmed.
There was a major development during our long-running investigation into an abuse scandal at a Co Antrim hospital when a senior detective revealed that, after viewing hundreds of thousands of hours of CCTV footage, a shocking 1,500 crimes had been identified in relation to a single ward.
DCI Jill Duffie confirmed in an exclusive interview (August 27) that the allegations of physical and mental abuse involving vulnerable patients at Muckamore Abbey represented the largest adult safeguarding case in the history of the Police Service of Northern Ireland.
We maintained our commitment to reflecting all aspects of sporting life through a series of frank discussions with key figures. The two-part article setting out for the first time the story of Dublin GAA star Philly McMahon and his father, former IRA member Phil McMahon (October 18 and 19), illustrated how effective the combination of crisp writing and imaginative lay-out can be.
During the course of the year, we reached out to different generations through separate strongly positive partnerships.
In our Young Newsreaders project, almost 9,000 pupils received regular special editions of our paper as we worked with St Mary’s University College in Belfast and the CBI to improve literacy levels in primary and post-primary schools.
Our Older People initiative involved linking up with the Commissioner for Older People, Age NI and the Spar retail group to tackle loneliness. We successfully encouraged readers to pick up a free Irish News for a week and engage with an older person in their community, with over 5,000 additional copies distributed daily
Finally, our website, which has been at the forefront of growing trends towards metered paywalls, recorded page views jumping by 33 per cent to over 36,000,000 in 2019. Unique users increased by more than three per cent year on year to over 10,000,000 and subscriptions were up by 20 per cent on 2018 (Google Analytics).
Achieving the best daily or Sunday ABC performance in the UK regional newspaper industry for the second consecutive year, the Irish News shows why it is at the heart of the communities it serves in one of the most challenging and competitive media landscapes in the UK. A first read from a first rate title.
The Yorkshire Post
I do believe The Yorkshire Post – recently recognised by PAMCo, for the first time in its history, as the Most Trusted Newspaper in Britain – warrants the accolade of Daily Newspaper of the Year for 2019 because:
In 2019 The Yorkshire Post stood up for Yorkshire, the North of England and for journalism, attracting international acclaim, including from The Washington Post and The New York Times and in doing so reminded people of the importance of having a confident, campaigning, quality regional press. TYP has been relentlessly highlighting the corrosiveness of fake news and championing trusted journalism, writes editor James Mitchinson.
The editor has appeared on national TV and radio on scores of occasions banging the drum for Yorkshire and for the regional press. TYP is one of the few regional titles to now regularly feature on Sky’s Paper Review; our high quality exclusive journalism now cutting through to compete with the nationals.
In a front page comment calling for ‘Urgent Electoral Reform’ that reverberated around the world, TYP said: “This, one of Britain’s most trusted and historic newsbrands, was having the bond between it and its readers – one often passed on from generation to generation of Yorkshire families – attacked. Journalism that had been painstakingly fact-checked and meticulously sourced was being discredited by a digital disease that is hypnotic and alluring yet nothing more than a con trick propagated by conspiracy theorists.”
Emily Bell said: “One of the very few heroes of the UK election campaign is The Yorkshire Post. Mitchinson’s email to a reader (500,000 page views in one week *Parse.ly) who would not believe a (true) story about a sick child left to wait on the floor of a Leeds hospital is a model of both public service journalism and how to debunk a lie.”
Alan Rusbridger said: “Editor in chief, James Mitchinson, wrote … a powerful statement of why good journalism – independent and decently crafted – should matter. So let’s hear it for bog-standard journalism. There’s too little of it. It may not be enough, but it’s all we have.”
Summarising the story of the election campaign, Mitchinson wrote for The Guardian where he concluded: “We are in danger of losing something more valuable [than money]: the ability to discern between truth and lies in the news we consume, wherever we consume it.”
2019 was the year TYP heaped shame on Prime Minister Boris Johnson as he and his government misjudged the grave seriousness of the South Yorkshire floods. “Not A National Emergency” declared the page-one headline (the PM’s words fired right back at him), beneath a hellish aerial image of mass devastation. Our award-winning photographers stayed in Fishlake day and night to record the disaster fully whilst the editor – in one day alone – took to R4 Today (Nick Robinson), Sky News (Sarah-Jane Mee), BBC World News, Politics Live (Andrew Neil), 5Live and LBC (James O’Brien) to call for a full and proportionate government response to the floods. Our coverage of the floods and the inadequate Ministerial response is a core campaign for 2020: we will be unswervingly committed to getting families the protections they need and deserve.
Power Up The North
The Yorkshire Post triggered the Power Up The North campaign and drove it hard alongside the Manchester Evening News and over 30 other northern news outlets in the North of England and, again, drew national acclaim and Ministerial attention. Power Up The North is now common political parlance and the campaign credited with changing the course of the election and the import of this region. Our demand for the Northern Powerhouse Minister to have a seat at Cabinet was acceded by Government – Jake Berry sent a note to editor James Mitchinson stating: my seat at the Cabinet table is as much yours as it is mine. At the time of writing, our campaign to have Northern stripped of its rail franchise had been won. We launched the inaugural Great Northern Conference last year – from a one-page document on the editor’s desk – and look forward to the illustrious second in Sheffield this March. Transport Secretary and new Northern Powerhouse brief-holder the Rt Hon Grant Shapps will address the conference.
Keeping it real
I believe so passionately in a vibrant regional press. It is perhaps incongruous to the big set-pieces aforementioned but I believe that which follows here to be what we in this industry are all about. In October, 91-year-old John Thompson came to our attention via South Yorkshire Police. He had lost £15,000 of his life-savings. Money he planned to give to his grandchildren. Our Crime Correspondent, Lucy Leeson, set up a Just Giving page and started the ball rolling with a donation of £5 of her own money in trying to get Mr Thompson and his wife at least a little of their life-savings back. TYP launched a social media campaign and within 24 hours, friends of TYP had raised all of Mr Thompson’s lost money and given it back to him. It is a unique blend of trust, compassion and connection to the communities we serve that makes the regional press special and it is important to me that we remember why we do what we do and for whom we do it.
I do hope that our work in 2019 makes the judges feel proud of The Yorkshire Post, proud of the regional press and that you believe our contribution reaches the levels required in order to be considered for the coveted, Daily Newspaper of the Year award.
Recognised by PAMCo, for the first time in its history, as the Most Trusted Newspaper in Britain, the Yorkshire Post proves time and time again why it deserves that accolade. Brilliant and incisive journalism that isn’t afraid to ask the awkward questions – and get the answers.