Last June, in the wake of unprecedented chaos on the rail network, The Yorkshire Post joined forces with more than 20 other newspapers and rival publishers across the North to campaign to ensure the voice of commuters was heard at Westminster.
Ahead of an All-Party Parliamentary Group meeting, a single comment piece across all the titles spoke for the region with a unified voice.
A petition set up by the newspapers calling for the Government to “end the Northern Rail nightmare” received 10,000 signatures in just 24 hours.
“The editors asked themselves, ‘are we being heard?’ and decided the answer was ‘no’,” said James Mitchinson, editor of The Yorkshire Post.
“We just weren’t being listened to.
“We were all getting frustrated in our own way, trying to elicit answers from Government on transport issues.
“Meanwhile the railway was in flames all around the north.
“So we decided if individually we’re not getting the right answers, then the sum of our parts may well get an audience with the Transport Secretary or even the Prime Minister on the problems.”
The national publicity the campaign attracted prompted a comment from Matt Chorley, editor of The Times’ political podcast. He took to Twitter and said: “One of the best things I’ve
seen regional papers do in a long time. And I think had a real impact on the mood in Westminster.”
And such was the collective strength of power behind the crusade that the One North campaign scooped Campaign of the Year at the Regional Press Awards last month.
Judged by the Society of Editors they said in the citation: “The winner was chosen by judges for leading more than 20 regional titles in uniting against the poor northern train services. This entry demonstrated the collective power of Britain’s regional press.”