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Editor reveals dream of making regional daily a ‘fully-fledged national’

James Mitchinson 2020A regional daily’s editor has revealed his “dream” to turn the newspaper into a “fully-fledged” national title on sale across the UK.

James Mitchinson, pictured, says he would like to see the Yorkshire Post become available in “every newsagent in the country”.

He floated the idea while appearing on BBC Radio 4’s The Media Show with Amol Rajan, and says he has since received requests for the Leeds-based Post to be stocked away from Yorkshire.

During his interview, James was also asked by Amol whether he would bring his family to London if he was offered the editorship of “the Fleet Street title of your dreams”.

In response, James said: “My heart isn’t in national journalism, my heart is in local journalism. There isn’t a better local newspaper than the Yorkshire Post, so the temptation to leave isn’t a strong one I have to say.

“I’ve enjoyed the last four years on the Yorkshire Post. I think we’ve achieved more than some of our national counterparts have achieved in the last four years.

“What I think I’d like to see is the Yorkshire Post become a fully-fledged national available in every newsagent in the country.

“That would be my dream, and that would be a job well done and completed in my view.”

Amol responded that such an expansion in print would “realistically” prove to be “tricky”, and quizzed James on his plan for the paper in the next three years.

James replied: “We are going to build out a large audience. We are going to build out an audience that enjoys the digital user experience for a start, trusts the content that we produce and is willing to pay for it.”

Posting on Twitter, James has since revealed he has received requests for the Post to be put on sale further afield.

He wrote on Friday: “This morning I’ve opened letters asking for the Yorkshire Post to be put on sale in Wiltshire and Glasgow. Maybe my daft notion of being a fully-fledged national isn’t so daft after all.”

Speaking to HTFP, James said: “I’ve been genuinely overwhelmed with the positivity of the responses. We get so used to dealing with hostility that I have found the flurry of encouraging words genuinely uplifting.”

During the show, James also discussed the concept of the regional press receiving direct grants from the government and said it made him feel “uneasy”.

However, he praised Facebook’s investment in the industry via the community reporting scheme, which has employed 80 journalists in newsrooms around the country.

He added: “[Facebook] don’t interfere. They don’t dictate what journalism can be undertaken.”

12 comments

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  • February 25, 2020 at 11:50 am
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    The circulation of the Yorkshire Post stands at a little over 18,500 that is less than a fifth of what it used to sell 25 years ago.

    So instead of grand pipe dreams, because that is what they are, could I humbly suggest that the editor and his editorial team concentrate on appealing to people from Yorkshire first.

    No one needs reminding that falling circulations mean falling advertising revenue. Just ask the (Manchester) Guardian.

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  • February 25, 2020 at 12:06 pm
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    Sounds typical of those who think everything that happens in Yorkshire is of interest to the rest of the country, it isn’t.
    Instead of ‘going global’ might I suggest the editor focuses his efforts and attention on building up the number of sales in the papers core area first?
    It might make commercial sense to expand the sale of the YP into neighbouring counties but if they feel confident there are potential buyers across the U.K. then surely a subscription model is the obvious route to that market.

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  • February 25, 2020 at 12:30 pm
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    Old ‘news’ It was announced on the Media Show, which went out six days ago!

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  • February 25, 2020 at 1:53 pm
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    Richardson: There are only two types of people. Those who live in Yorkshire, and those who wish they did.

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  • February 25, 2020 at 2:07 pm
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    Distribution costs would be enormous. Take The New European as an example: when you see six copies on sale in Sainsbury’s in Worksop you wonder how any profit could be made even if they all sold.

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  • February 25, 2020 at 3:03 pm
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    One Time Sub: The New European is another prime example of a very limited interest paper which, post Brexit ,would be better off being subscription mail out only or going as a pay to access online publication with costs reduced,less waste and serving a direct audience of remainers who might still want to read it.
    The online option would also fall in line with publisher Archants stated policy of becoming a digital only operation and would fit in with the plan to convert free titles to online only digital editions or in the case of paid for titles via paying subscribers.

    Food for thought

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  • February 25, 2020 at 3:33 pm
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    The latest ABC figure is 17,551 average daily copies. Take out the massive sale on Saturdays (45,000 – 50,000) and you’re left with a very poor weekday sale. There are 2.2 million households in Yorkshire, the population is around 5.5m. That’s an awful lot of non-purchasers I’d be targeting if I was Mr Mitchison.

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  • February 25, 2020 at 5:50 pm
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    The point to all this is, being an editor (or whatever they call themselves these days) is a full time job.

    You can’t be a “media personality” on the side.

    Too often we see local editors and the like sending in press releases over run of the mill stories that they’ve published or appearing on TV to do a newspaper review or give their opinion on an issue and all the while their circulations plummet.

    This isn’t finger pointing, so many of them are at it.

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  • February 26, 2020 at 11:55 am
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    Local newspapers should stick to being local – there’s no reason why I would want to read Yorkshire news in Reading, for example, no more than people in Yorkshire would want to read about news in Reading in the Post. Local newspapers (particularly in their online offer) already feature too much national or irrelevant news from bordering counties (presumably fed from PRs and/or social media) to fill the gap left my understaffed and under skilled reporters with no time or inclination to go out and source real (and human interest) stories for themselves.

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  • February 26, 2020 at 12:10 pm
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    Totally agree @Former Journo
    What these editors tend to forget , or dibt reside, is their main USP which Shanda then out from any competitor should be their localness, once they move away from this or try to make up for lost readers by including generic, non local or even national news they find themselves up against other conjectures who simply do it better.
    Perhaps if they focussed on hyper local content unique to their county, towns or villages by providing well written local news they’d pick up some of the thousands of readers and advertisers they’ve lost

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  • February 26, 2020 at 2:11 pm
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    Time was, the YP was virtually a national paper, and a proud one. Its reach in the North East was similar to the Manchester Guardian’s in the North West, as far up as the Newcastle Journal. Then it was wrecked by JP. If the dear old Guardian hadn’t gone fully national it would have been in the same boat today.

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