Yorkshire Times Celebrates First Birthday
Angela Boddy, Features Writer
Yesterday (1st October), Yorkshire's exclusively online newspaper The Yorkshire Times celebrated its first Birthday. Just one year since launch, your local online newspaper has some impressive readership figures, with over 15,000 unique readers, 80,000 page impressions and 850,000 hits to the website each month.
Richard Trinder, founder and Managing Editor, started the online newspaper because he was 'fed up' with the regional and local printed newspapers on offer. "Yorkshire is a huge county - the largest in the UK," he said "and it needs a newspaper that covers the entire region, not just one that concentrates on Leeds, Sheffield or York. Of course to employ reporters throughout Yorkshire would be prohibitively expensive so we had to come up with a new model."
A community model that works
Enter Citizen Journalism. Anyone can submit articles to The Yorkshire Times for consideration - and they do. The paper now has over 40 writers, all with a passion for their subject, writing about everything from arts, music and food to business, cars and sport.
"We've been amazed at the response to The Yorkshire Times," said the online paper's editor Angela Boddy, who looks after the growing band of writers. "There are so many people out there who love to write, have something interesting to say and are really rather good at it. The Yorkshire Times gives them the opportunity to reach a wider audience, whilst adding to their portfolio of work to enhance future career prospects."
The Yorkshire Times has its own unique 'voice' and style, which is perhaps why, after only 12 months, it has such a loyal following. It provides a commentary on the things that are important to the residents of Yorkshire, like the closure of the Leeds Heart Unit and the North Yorks Moors potash mine proposals, and isn't afraid to be controversial.
Bucking the trend
The local and regional printed press have had a tough time this year, with two Yorkshire publications going from daily to weekly, three closing altogether and The Yorkshire Post having to move to smaller premises following losses of £143.8 million as more people opt to read their daily newspaper online, rather than buying a printed version. Many local papers have taken the step into the digital world, but with a printed version in tow they are struggling to make headway.
"Our advantage is that we started online, so our paper is designed with the digital market in mind," explained Richard. "This has made us more versatile, so that we can act quickly and get things up and running whilst other organisations are still calling a meeting to discuss the way forward."
There have been many highlights over the first year. Here are just a few:
Hard hitting features - Feature Editor Steve James caught the mood of the region with his articles about the things that matter to Yorkshire the most. From police cuts and the closure of the Leeds Heart Unit to the proposed potash mine on the North Yorks Moors and environmental issues like The Woodland Trust's tree planting campaign, Steve's articles are always amongst the most popular features.
Top name interviews - You know you've arrived in the media world when George Osborne requests an interview.
Happy to oblige, in August, The Yorkshire Times added the Chancellor of the Exchequer to its growing list of celebrity interviews, which includes Sir Bob Geldof, comedian Alan Davies and paralympian swimmer Claire Cashmore.
Live blog - In April The Yorkshire Times ran its first ever live blog from the 18th Bradford International Film Festival. It was a rip-roaring success with over 30 films reviewed by Media Correspondent, Dave Rogers. After that the live blogs just kept coming: Hebden Bridge Blues Festival, Grassington Festival, The Great Yorkshire show (sadly rained off after just one day), The Carers' Resource Edwardian Fête and Bingley Music Live. A full programme of live blogs is already in place for the last quarter of 2012 and throughout 2013.
Here's one of our interviews from The Great Yorkhsire Show Blog - sadly rained off after the first day.
Cracking reviews - Month by month, The Yorkshire Times has added to its team of reviewers.
So if you want to know about the latest shows, albums, cars, restaurants, beauty products and a whole lot more The Yorkshire Times is the place to look for honest opinions written to entertain.
Savvy social media One of the main reasons for the success of The Yorkshire Times has been its imaginative use of social media.
A strong following on twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn has drawn readers from all walks of life and from every corner of 'God's Own County'. "It's all about engaging with our audience," explains Social Media Editor, Charlotte Booth. "We have built up a strong online relationship with our readers who have helped us to spread the word via their many friends, followers and business contacts."
Supporting Carers' Resource - In May the Carers' Resource was chosen as the Yorkshire Times' Charity of the Year 2012.
The Yorkshire Times has supported this worthwhile charity with press coverage, free advertising and by running a live blog from the charity's Edwardian Fête on 4th August which raised £3,700 to help provide information, advice and support to people who care for family, friends or loved ones.
April Fool fools the nation - A newspaper wouldn't be complete without an April Fool spoof. On 1st April, The Yorkshire Times ran the headline story 'Cuts continue: Yorkshire and Lancashire to be merged'. The story was picked up by Radio 2 DJ Chris Evans and The Yorkshire Times was deluged, with over 4,000 hits in just one hour. It remains The Yorkshire Times' most read article ... until next April 1st!
Celebration Birthday Blog
To celebrate its first birthday, The Yorkshire Times is running an online virtual birthday party on its 'Birthday Blog'. Readers are invited to send in birthday messages, photos or videos via twitter @The YorksTimes, Facebook or by e-mail to email@example.com.
These will be posted throughout the day on the birthday blog page, along with special offers, and entertaining birthday stories from some of The Yorkshire Times' regular writers.
Times for the future
Richard Trinder has big plans for The Yorkshire Times. "The Yorkshire Times is contantly evolving and improving," he said. " We now have a phone app and will shortly be launching The Yorkshire Times Facebook app. Our sales team have put together some exciting packages for advertisers in the run up to Christmas and beyond and we have plenty of marketing and joint venture schemes in the pipeline."
"We are massive fans of Yorkshire and our mission remains to reveal some of the enormous depth and breadth of talent across our county. We will continue to make a serious attempt to do 'the right thing' - whatever that means in any absolute sense - and try to get through life by illuminating the facts rather than destroying the players.
"Environmental issues will remain a priority for us and by providing an online rather than printed newspaper for the whole of Yorkshire, we will be doing our small bit to protect the planet."
"Our 15,000 readers seem to like our style of presentation and our editorial position and we welcome any comments and contributions to firstname.lastname@example.org
"On our 1st birthday I would like to say a huge thank you to all our readers and contributors - you have helped make us what we are today. I hope that you will continue to enjoy reading The Yorkshire Times for many years to come. Please help us celebrate by joining in at the party on our Birthday Blog."
Happy birthday, The Yorkshire Times!
Yorkshire Times Celebrates First Birthday, 2nd October 2012, 9:54 AM