To those of you visiting from beyond the county fringes; hello. I sincerely hope that you and yours are all well, though I am acutely conscious that so many families are far from so. Coronavirus has changed everything, no question.
Before I cut to the chase of why I am writing to you, I want to say thank you for choosing The Yorkshire Post as at least one of your go-to places for journalism that you clearly value. It is genuinely appreciated.
There will be myriad reasons why people appreciate The Yorkshire Post. For some it is our fearless campaigning; speaking truth to power without fear or favour. For others it is our commitment to doing proper journalism for the right reasons. Journalism done for the betterment of the people and places we serve.
You may be here for our in-depth story-telling - painstakingly gathered and beautifully written. Perhaps it is our stunning photography; our comprehensive sports coverage; our absolute commitment to rural affairs, our sense of humour - have you seen our hand-drawn cartoons? Our broad spectrum of views and opinion - if you want an echo chamber, this is not the place for you - or our insightful business coverage. Forgive me. I could go on. And on.
Let me be honest (it is something we’re good at around here): I’d like you to consider supporting The Yorkshire Post with your own hard-earned money. I would much rather tell you myself what I’m asking: £5 per month. That’s it. At this stage, there is no paywall.
I’d like to see if the work we have been doing of late is the kind of journalism you might be willing to contribute towards - whatever you think it is worth - in order to protect it, enhance it and ensure it is here to stay. If you think we are worth more than £5 per month, you can pay more. Whatever you choose to pay, be assured it gives us the firepower we need to do what you expect of us.
For some, this will be where they exit stage left. Fine. I know this. For others - those who care about journalism done well - I hope this is where you join us on our mission. You will already have noticed on our website new buttons inviting you to subscribe. For now, we are only asking for contributions - this is not a paywall. Not yet.
For now, I am keen to understand if some of the humbling compliments we receive via email, in the post and on social media can translate into pounds, shillings and pence that we can invest in our journalism for perpetuity. I hope so. One thing I am sure of is that the journalism done by The Yorkshire Post is worth paying for. I hope you do, too.
Five years ago I was asked if I would consider moving home - moving my family - in order to take the reins of this now 266-year-old institution. Of course, it was a no-brainer. In my mind, it was an opportunity to stand up for Yorkshire. To represent the North. To be a force for good. There was - and remains - much work to do, but if there is one thing we are not afraid of in Yorkshire, it is hard graft.
In the last five years the team we have assembled has established the reputation of The Yorkshire Post among its national peers. This proud newspaper was recently awarded PAMCo’s Most Trusted Newspaper In Britain status - ahead of our national peers - and currently holds the Society of Editors’ Best Daily accolade. For the last two years in a row, this newspaper has won the SoE’s Campaign of the Year award - leading Power Up The North - amongst a clutch of others. I hope you can see; we’re busting a gut for you.
These awards have only come our way because we have worked tirelessly to genuinely connect with the communities we serve; listening to people and working alongside them. This is not our Yorkshire Post. We are merely temporary custodians. The Yorkshire Post is and always has been here for the people of Yorkshire first and foremost. Recently, it has become a powerful voice for the North of England in Westminster. We will not allow them to forget we are here.
But what we do - and the way we do it - costs money. It takes time and it takes courage. In this digital age there are traps all around us. The temptation to resort to sensationalism and titillation - click-bait - has been too much for many. Having listened intently, I am convinced that you do not want this type of journalism. You want proper journalism. Quality journalism. And, if I may, I am asking you to help us to produce it.
I may be wrong, but I believe there is a better way of producing journalism. A way that puts readers first. A way that enhances communities by keeping them informed. Makes people feel good about who they are and where they live. Above all, a way of producing journalism that has a fighting chance of sustaining a high quality, fact-checked, highly responsible public interest service that you can trust.
So, please - if you can - pay for our work. Just £5 per month is the starting point. Again if you think that which we are trying to achieve is worth more, you can pay us what you think we are worth. By doing so, you will be investing in something that is becoming increasingly rare. Independent journalism that cares less about right and left and more about right and wrong. Journalism you can trust.
Editor, The Yorkshire Post