The splash, second lead and main news briefs on the front page of one of Britain’s last great broadsheets were all hidden beneath the fold on Wednesday 10 July.
The ‘Inquiry into police scandals set to force massive shake-up’ was actually quite an interesting report about West Yorkshire Police’s shoddy handling of misconduct cases.
And with the Yorkshire Post’s intelligent readers in mind, I rated the shoulder piece headlined ‘Whole-life terms for murderers ‘inhuman’ say judges’.
The well-penned write-offs were also all more than capable of pulling readers in, with ‘Row over Richard III’s remains intensifies’ and ‘Miracle escape for MP as lorry tyre smashes car on M1’ being just two examples.
But because the above stories were placed in the bottom half of the broadsheet page one, and with the folded paper masthead side up in the shops, no-one whose attention they might have caught would have seen them.
Broadsheet editing is a dying trade, of course, and outgoing editor Peter Charlton and deputy Andrew Vine understandably have more than enough on their minds as they step down from the paper this month.
That said, it’s worth new kid on the block Jeremy Clifford considering whether a paper only displaying ‘THE GREAT YORKSHIRE SHOW’ is really going to pull in the passing casual reader.
And is it just me, or does ‘YORKSHIRE’ in the masthead and ‘YORKSHIRE’ directly underneath grate with anyone else?
Those quibbles aside, the quality of the paper’s departing editorial chiefs is clearly shown in the content throughout, which included:
- ‘Revolt in paradise as locals use pool as toilet’ on page five, telling how a Yorkshireman led angry holidaymakers in the Caribbean;
- ‘Carer jailed for leaving dementia patient in bath’ on page seven, reporting the six-month sentence a Goole woman received after the 82-year-old in her care nearly drowned;
- ‘A memory of murder: the real woman hidden behind the myths of Ruth Ellis’ on page 13, a captivating review by the Post’s own Chris Bond; and
- ‘Ed Milliband’s union paymasters are still a liability for Labour’ on page 15, a strong opinion piece made even more readable because it was written by regular columnist Bernard Ingham – Margaret Thatcher’s ex-press secretary.
In 28 broadsheet pages, there were around 150 news and features stories, another 30-plus reports in the business section and 45 or so in sport – the latter including fine, detailed reporting on the Ashes by staffer Chris Waters for the title’s many cricket fans.
There were another 50-odd stories on 16 tabloid pages in the Life & Style leisure pull-out.
The latest ABC figures show that the Yorkshire Post sold an average of 35,940 copies a day between July and December 2012 at 65p a time, with only 3pc listed as ‘bulk’ sales.
Even more impressive was the sales figure of 67,270 on Saturdays – a day when the cover price more than doubled to £1.40.
This loyal readership is a reminder that it’s no mean feat bringing out a broadsheet six days a week, especially when you position yourself as ‘Yorkshire’s National Newspaper’.
Best wishes should go to Jeremy, who has a huge task ahead of him when he picks up the reins next month – one made even bigger by the fact that the role will be much wider than editing one title.
I just hope that JP boss Ashley Highfield realises that the strong support of substantial lieutenants is needed in such a role, and the time and space to sometimes concentrate on what’s going to be the best position for stories on the front of numerous papers.
And more than a few observers will be wondering if and when Jeremy will also be busy taking the big paper tabloid – one sure way of ending the ‘beneath the fold’ dilemma.