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Jobs created as former editor’s new quality title prepares to launch

Brian Aitken PicSix new journalism jobs are being created with the launch of a new subscription-only title on a former daily editor’s old patch.

As first reported by HTFP in July, Brian Aitken, editor of North-East daily The Journal from 2003-14, is returning to the frontline by launching a new quality online newspaper for the region.

The QT – billed as “a new voice for the North-East” – will launch in the New Year with a core team of six journalists and a large pool of freelance contributors.

Its news coverage will major on regional affairs including business, politics, devolution, health, the environment, education and inequality, while the publication will also aim to provide “first class coverage”of the cultural sector.

As well as Brian, pictured, the team will three other former Journal staffers – features editor Sam Wonfor, associate editor Simon Rushworth, and arts and culture writer David Whetstone.

In addition Brian is currently advertising on HTFP for a Regional Affairs Editor and a Staff Writer with a deadline for applications of 12th December and interviews to be held the week after.

The initiative is initially being funded by seven ‘angel investors’ but the aim is for the title to become entirely self-funding through reader subscriptions and sponsorship, with no pop-up adverts or ‘clickbait.’

Monthly subscriptions to will cost £7.99, with an annual subscription available for £79.99.

Brian told HTFP:  “We are at a hugely exciting time for The QT. Our website is nearly ready, we moved into our office last week and we are recruiting for two more writers.

“That will bring our editorial numbers up to six, including me. In addition to that core team, we will have a large pool of freelance contributors to call on.

“The QT will not have obtrusive ads, pop-ups or clickbait headlines so that’s why there will be a price to pay to access our content.

“But we have no qualms about asking people to pay for quality journalism and our market research says  there are enough people in the North East who will do so to make The QT a viable product.

“We already have some quality storytellers to call on but there’s always room for more and I’d be interested to hear from anyone who thinks they could make a valuable contribution before we launch early next year.

“The QT will be independent and politically neutral. It will look at the world through a North East lens and our comment and opinion section is called Civilised Society for good reason.

“It will be a respectful forum for debate, expert opinion, analysis, insight and thought-provoking comment – an insult-free zone where you can disagree so long as you disagree agreeably.

“I’m particularly keen to hear from people who feel they have a voice to add to this.”

The site will update once a week, every Wednesday at noon, accompanied by an email newsletter alterting subscribers to the new edition along with a summary of the content.

Most content will be paywalled, but the What’s On listings in the Culture section will be free to access, along with one or two articles on a regular basis.

Sports coverage will focus on unsung heroes, fitness and wellbeing, opinion and analysis, and the business of sport.

However there won’t be a dedicated sports section or weekly articles on Newcastle United, Sunderland and Middlesboro, the view being that other titles are already catering for this.

The forthcoming launch marks a notable comeback for Brian after nearly 10 years away from frontline journalism.

After leaving the Journal’s then-owner Trinity Mirror in 2014, Brian went on to work as head of corporate affairs at Newcastle United Football Club, a role he left in 2020

Before editing The Journal, Brian also worked at the Lincolnshire Echo, Aberdeen Evening Express, Glasgow’s Daily Record and as editorial development manager for Trinity Mirror.

He has also owned Brian Aitken Associates, his own consultancy business, since 2015.