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HTFP at 20: The Top 10 most viewed HoldtheFrontPage stories of all time

One of the most popular features on HoldtheFrontPage is the ‘Most Viewed, Most Commented’ widget that appears about three-quarters of the way down the homepage.

It will tell you at any one time what our most viewed story is of the past week, and which one has had the most comments.

But now we have been going 20 years, we thought it would be a good opportunity to take a look back at our most viewed stories of all time – all of which, as it happens, are from the last decade.

Here, then, is our Top 10 countdown.  Click on the links to view the original stories.

10. Regional political editor to national columnist: ‘You are not a journalist’

by David Sharman, 2018.   11,353 views

Award-winning Manchester Evening News political editor Jen Williams socked it to lefty polemicist Owen Jones after he branded journalism “the most socially exclusive profession, other than medicine.”

In a legendary Twitter spat, Jen asked the Corbynite class warrior whether he had passed his NCTJ exams and what qualified him to talk about journalism.  Predictably, HTFP readers loved it.

9. Five Johnston Press daily newspapers to go weekly next month

by Paul Linford, 2012.  11,475 views

In one of the biggest industry stories of the past decade, it was announced that the Scarborough Evening News, Halifax Courier, Northampton Chronicle and Echo, Peterborough Evening Telegraph and Northants Evening Telegraph were all moving from daily to weekly publication.

At the time, it was predicted that many more daily newspapers would follow suit, but few did, and the ‘dailies-turned-weeklies’ remain a select group of around a dozen titles.

8. Scottish Sunday names privacy case footballer

by Paul Linford, 2011. 12,157 views

In the summer of 2011 the media world was agog with rumours of which Premier League footballer had taken out a privacy injunction over claims of an extra marital affair – until the Sunday Herald exploited a legal loophole to name him.

The following day, the footballer was named in Parliament by MP John Hemming as Ryan Giggs and the rest of the UK media swiftly followed the Herald’s lead.

7. Regional publisher launches probe after four-letter word appears in death notice

by David Sharman, 2019. 14,072 views

Reach plc launched an investigation after a death notice appeared in the Scunthorpe Telegraph which contained two obscenities.

The publisher subsequently refunded all those customers who had had death notices published on the same page, but sadly the outcome of the investigation was never disclosed.

6. Journalists reveal earnings of between £5k and £90k

by Sarah Bould, 2011. 14,316 views

This story grew out of the UKjournopay survey undertaken by Francois Nel at the University of Central Lancashire after it emerged that a weekly editor with 37 years’ experience in journalism was being paid £25,500 a year.

With journalism pay scales continuing to be a topical issue, it has continued to rake in the page views over the years.

5. Newspaper in sabotage claims over obscene advert

by Helen Lambourne, 2013. 14,646 views.

The trials and travails of Thomas Sinclair’s start-up the Pembrokeshire Herald have been a rich source of stories for us down the years, so it was inevitable that one of them would appear in our Top 10.

This would probably have been our most viewed story ever if the editor had allowed the original headline, although it might also have got us closed down.



4. ABCs: All the figures for regional dailies

by Paul Linford, 2015. 14,799 views.

Our coverage of the six-monthly ABCs been a staple of the site ever since it was first set up, but for reasons that remain something of a mystery, there was particular interest in the February 2015 edition, covering the second half of 2014.

The Belfast Telegraph emerged as the best-performing regional title, posting a circulation decrease of 3.4pc, just head of the Lancashire Telegraph which was down 3.5pc.

3. Before he was famous: Jeremy Clarkson as cub reporter

by Paul Linford, 2012. 21,432 views

This started life as a four-par caption on a photo dug out by long-serving Rotherham Advertiser editor Doug Melloy when he retired from the role.

After posting respectable viewing stats on its initial airing in 2012, it suddenly went viral in September 2018 after ITV announced a new series of ‘Who Wants to be a Millionaire’ with Clarkson in the chair.

Doug 4

Jeremy Clarkson (back row, centre) in a line-up of Rotherham Advertiser staff from the 1980s

2. Journalist told she would pay ‘ultimate price’ after covering far-right protest

by David Sharman, 2019.  24,106 views.

One of the least welcome trends of recent years has been the increasing level of abuse of  journalists both online and even occasionally in person.

One particular victim was Susie Beever, then of the Huddersfield Examiner and now of the Yorkshire Post, who received a death threat after reporting on a far-right rally in Leeds in January 2019.

1. Spicy burger test puts two daily reporters in hospital

by Paul Linford, 2014. 26,706 views.

As well as providing serious news coverage of the regional press industry, HoldtheFrontPage was always meant to reflect the fun side of local journalism – so it’s somehow apt that this ended up as our most viewed story ever – for now at any rate.

Of the two reporters concerned, it didn’t do Arron Hendy’s career any harm as he went on to edit The Argus, but Ruari Barrett last appeared in the paper for having had ‘Southern Rail are shit’ tattooed on his chest.

Journalists Arron Hendy and Ruari Barratt who were hospitalised after eating the hottest burger in the country

Journalists Arron Hendy and Ruari Barratt who were hospitalised after eating the hottest burger in the country.



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  • February 10, 2020 at 9:47 am

    How about the 10 stories with most comments? And a comparison of ABC figures in 2000 and now would be very revealing.

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  • February 10, 2020 at 11:36 am

    That’s a great idea OneTimeSub
    I am sure many of us would be interested to see the stories attracting the most feedback and read the comments again. It would also give us the opportunity to see how apposite the official line and the views in the comments were given the benefit of hindsight.

    The ABC comparisons over say 3-5-7-10 years would also make for interesting reading particularly for those members of staff who only know current figures and possibly won’t be aware of a titles copy sale history.

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