Two new weekly newspapers are to launch in West Yorkshire next week.
The Wakefield Post and the Pont & Cas Post – for Pontefract and Castleford – are being produced by the newly-formed Johnson Publishing Ltd.
The owner and managing director is Terry Johnson, former MD of South Yorkshire Newspapers which publishes the Doncaster Free Press. He left the company in November.
The papers will be edited by former Press Association journalist Ben Pindar from offices in Pontefract, where 15 staff are based.
The titles are thought to be the first new paid-for newspapers launched in the district for more than 50 years, and the group says they will provide a “breath of fresh air for people across the region by delivering up to the minute news, pictures, features and sport in a stylish and modern format”.
They will be published every Thursday, with the first issue due out on May 3.
In a bold move the team behind the publications is also planning to feature the newspaper in full on dedicated free website www.wakefieldpost.co.uk, the evening before the printed publication hits the streets.
Using ‘turning pages’ technology, visitors will be able to view an exact replica of the paper and access advertisers’ websites as they scroll through the interactive pages.
Terry said: “We looked at papers like the Evening Standard and Manchester Evening News and they are delivering a complete audience to advertisers.
“Paid-for circulation is in decline so we decided to take the bull by the horns.”
They will be in direct competition with Terry’s former employer, Johnston Press, which publishes the 33,935-circulation Wakefield Express series, and the 25,125-circulation Pontefract and Castleford Express.
Ben said the papers would aim to promote life in Wakefield, Pontefract and Castleford by providing positive news on the district’s diverse communities.
He said: “While we will be covering all of the region’s major news stories we are also aiming to highlight the accomplishments and achievements of the businesses and people who live and work across the district.
“Too often the region and the rich community life within it has been portrayed in a negative way and we are going to change that.
“We hope our papers will become an integral part of life in Wakefield, Pontefract, Castleford and the surrounding towns and villages and are confident we can inject a new lease of life into the sense of community.”
To this end, the management team at Johnson Publishing say they will put a portion of its profits back into the communities they serve.
Managing director Terry Johnson said: “Quite simply we are putting our money where our mouth is.
“We want to help promote the entire district and we hope to help improve it further by funding a range of community initiatives.
“We are relying on the support of people across the district and we will repay their dedication through a fund led by leading members of the community.”