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Independent weekly claims 4,000 sale as JP rival exits patch

An independent paid-for newspaper set up in opposition to a soon-to-close Johnston Press title is claiming a weekly sale of 4,000 copies as it approaches the first anniversary of its launch.

As revealed by HTFP earlier this week, the Driffield Times & Post is one of two JP newspapers in the East Riding of Yorkshire which will go to press for the last time next month.

The announcement comes as the Driffield & Wolds Weekly, launched by former Times & Post sports editor Andy Stabler last August, prepares to mark its first birthday next week.

Andy, who took voluntary redundancy from the Times & Post last May after 20 years with Johnston Press, has expressed his sadness at the paper’s closure.

Driffield Weekly

Andy worked as a reporter and sports editor for the Bridlington Free Press and the Times & Post before leaving to launch the new paid-for title.

Unlike the Times & Post, whose staff are mainly based in Scarborough, it has an office in Driffield and now claims to be selling 4,000 copies a week.

The last set of ABC figures for the Driffield Times & Post in 2012 showed it selling an average 4,915 copies a week, but according to a BBC Look North report aired on Wednesday night, its current circulation has fallen to around 1,500, despite having dropped its price from £1.05 to 49p last October.

The Driffield and Wolds Weekly has had a cover price of 50p since its launch.

Andy told HTFP: “It was sad to hear the news that after 150 years the Driffield Times & Post will close in September.

“Having lived in the town all my life, worked for them and my dad spending the best part of 50 years with them since leaving school as a 15-year-old, it will be sad to see it go. I also have friends who work for JP.

“We launched last August knowing there was a market for another weekly newspaper. The town had two newspapers previously and we have proved that all the talk of the internet and the current advertising market doesn’t come in to play when the job is run locally, and that has been the key so far to our success.

“All our staff are local, we have an office in the town, and all eight staff went to school in Driffield. We have produced papers up to 104 pages and average 72 pages per week, with up 20 pages of sport.”

He added:: “We cover everything and anything local, with lots pictures covering all local events, such as produce shows, WI clubs, local fairs and of course the local schools. Plus so much more including all the local estate agents.

“Local advertisers have shown tremendous support to our project. Whoever you speak with in the town or in the many, many villages we cover they love the paper.

“Having picked up weekly papers everywhere I have been in the county I don’t believe there is a better paper – value for money – than what we produce. And if there is I haven’t seen it.”

“We know we have along way to go but it couldn’t have been a better first 12 months, with our 52nd issue out on Tuesday.”

Along with the Times & Post, JP announced this week that the Beverley Guardian will also cease publication next month while the Malton & Pickering Mercury will become an edition of the Scarborough News.

The Mercury will retain its own masthead and several change pages of local news and sport.

14 comments

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  • August 12, 2016 at 7:53 am
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    ‘He added: “We cover everything and anything local, with lots pictures covering all local events, such as produce shows, WI clubs, local fairs and of course the local schools. Plus so much more, including all the local estate agents.'” Hah! What’s all this nonsense masquerading as a local paper? Where’s the digital newsroom based 20 miles off patch, so vital to commercial success these days? Where’s the coverage of a Premier League football team 50 miles off patch, for those all-important, cash-generating “clicks”? Where’s the essential seven-figure salaried, share options stuffed, and pension-rich chief executive guiding the operation through the hazards of the modern communications arena? Nowhere, that’s where! I’ll give this balderdash a few months at best… (Orderlies arrive with tasers to take Minim to a calmer place)

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  • August 12, 2016 at 9:44 am
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    Keep it local and you can succeed. Do we think Mr Highfield will bother to read this article and, if so, learn anything? Nope, me neither.

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  • August 12, 2016 at 9:53 am
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    Dick, the effects of the tasers have muddled your thinking, man. Our click and cash-generating Premier League team is more or less 300 miles off our patch, and a jolly good job it does too. So there. And you missed out the vitally important videos of cats doing something interesting in front of the mirror. You are slipping, sir!

    However, congrats to the wonderfully named Driffield and Wolds Weekly. A year in publication these days for any new venture is a very long time indeed.

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  • August 12, 2016 at 10:34 am
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    Andy Stabler says it all. It’s all so simple. Maybe he could explain that to Ashley. Or maybe not. Ashley knows best. He listens to nobody. That’s why JP is dying.

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  • August 12, 2016 at 11:17 am
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    Damn, sorry, echo; forgot all about the cats videos. And the lists of 10 ice cream flavours to enjoy this summer. And the free ads for restaurants and pubs opening in town pretending to be “News” and therefore corrupting and undermining the whole ethos and integrity of our endeavour. Come on the Driffield & Wolds Weekly! It can be done.

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  • August 12, 2016 at 11:53 am
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    It’s really sad that the Driffield Times and Post has ceased after such a long history of reporting local news and events in Driffield. However, when they closed their office in the town and made local reporters redundant the writing was on the wall. The new Driffield and Wolds Weekly are by contrast totally engaged in the local area; they gave an office in the town and employ local people who understand what’s going on. On this basis, I can see that a local paper covering local issues and events has a bright future being at the heart of the community.

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  • August 12, 2016 at 3:38 pm
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    All the indie paper’s staff live locally. Write out 100 times Ashley. My so called local JP rag is badly written about 20 miles off patch by people who do not know or care about the area. Peak sales once 20,000 plus. Now about 5,000. Rest my case.

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  • August 14, 2016 at 12:54 pm
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    This is the future. Not every independent title is guaranteed to survive by mere virtue of being independent, but they’re positioned to deliver everything the corporate-owned titles don’t and they don’t need such huge margins to survive.

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  • August 14, 2016 at 9:45 pm
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    JP are similar to Father Ted and the ‘Song for Europe’ episode, with the no-hoper entry ‘My Lovely Horse’. Obviously JP – for reasons best known to themselves – want print to fail. Certainly digital isn’t succeeding.

    Therefore, they are producing newspapers that are – like ‘Mr Lovely Horse’ – indescribably naff, the latest innovation being the insulting and derisible ‘Newsroom of the Future’.

    The idea is to empty as many newsrooms as possible of personnel and consign once superb newspapers to the scrapheap.

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  • August 15, 2016 at 10:53 am
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    How times change! I remember vividly walking along Exchange Street in August, 1952, to my first job as a junior reporter on the Driffield Times. Somewhat starry eyed I wondered if I would go out with a senior reporter in his car and help with some big news story. Not so. Have you brought your bike, asked the editor Jim Hart. No, I replied. Never mind you can borrow mine, he said. That soon shattered my dream of life in the fast lane in Driffield. (oxymoron perhaps?) But the pay made up for any disappointment – 30 shillings in my hand on Friday.

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  • August 17, 2016 at 9:18 am
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    How did the NUJ allow all this humiliation happen to so many JP journalists?

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  • August 18, 2016 at 11:08 am
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    My girlfriend’s local small independent with a total staff of about five is much better written than the “local” JP rag. There is a future for those who care.

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  • August 18, 2016 at 4:00 pm
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    Yesterday, our on-the-ball ‘local’ JP rag (20miles from its patch) carried a full page of out-of-date Olympics news. The circulation is about half of what was a couple of years ago. I wonder why.

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  • August 19, 2016 at 10:54 am
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    This is all very depressing. Can we hear from some JP hacks who love their jobs and think their papers are great. Seriously, there must be one or two.

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