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.
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.