Trusted Yorkshire Post Is ‘Bellwether For The North’

The Yorkshire Post, with its commitment to accurate journalism and campaigning on behalf of its readers,  is considered by politicians and officials in Westminster to be a “bellwether for the north,” according to a Financial Times report.  

In an article this week, the FT cited the paper’s scoop that ancestors of Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn had once lived next door to each other in the Yorkshire town of Masham as an example of its commitment to accurate journalism.

The FT report said: “The scoop was unearthed by the English county’s daily newspaper, the Yorkshire Post, last month. But having earned the accolade of the UK’s most trusted news brand this year, its editor was not leaving anything to chance.

“’We contacted a genealogist to make sure it was correct,’ explains James Mitchinson, the son of a miner who has been editor since 2016. ‘We make every effort not to go out on a limb.’”

According to PAMCo, almost nine out of 10 of the Yorkshire Post’s readers say they trust what they read in the 265-year-old newspaper.

 The FT quoted Roger Brown, a retired planning inspector from Wakefield, who said he had been reading the Yorkshire Post since he was “in nappies”. “It’s very important to us because we are very proud in Yorkshire,” Mr Brown, 77, said, praising the paper’s political neutrality. “It is ‘God’s own country’ and that is well reflected in the paper. I trust it because it is rooted in the place.”

In the piece, Jeremy Clifford, JPI Media editor-in-chief, put the paper’s high levels of trust down to local initiatives it has backed, such as a campaign to combat loneliness in rural areas.

The title has also put pressure on the Government to assign as much money and political clout to Yorkshire as Greater Manchester, which elected a powerful mayor in 2017.

“The Yorkshire Post is also taken seriously by politicians. Every prime minister, including Mr Johnson, has made an early visit to its Leeds office. ‘It is seen as a bellwether for the north. Whitehall listens to the YP,’ said Mr Clifford,” the FT reported. 

“The YP website, which has about 900,000 page views each day, according to JPI, is free to access but its sister paper, the Sheffield Star, in September introduced a £2 weekly, or £78 annual, subscription, the FT reported.

“Mr Mitchinson said the YP would soon have to put up a paywall: ‘We will have to ask readers to contribute financially. I do not think there is an alternative.’

“The Blackpool Gazette and Portsmouth News in May became the first JPI titles to move behind a paywall, charging readers £2 a week for unlimited access to articles, faster load times and fewer adverts. Non-subscribers are still able to access five free articles a week.

“Mr Clifford said the model had been ‘well received by our readers’, adding the media group was planning on introducing paywalls to other titles in the coming months.

“’It is important for the future of our titles that we refocus ourselves as a ‘digital first’ business in the face of a print newspaper market that continues to change,’ he said.”