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Read this: Fake news, strong views, Yorkshire and me

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Fake news, strong views, Yorkshire and m…



BBC sounds music Radio podcasts from BBC Radio 4 history of trade we call journalism few figures are more romantic and hallowed than the newspaper editor of a powerful title far from a capital city is meant to be a canny reporter a feeling of community and someone with an intuitive understanding of their readers.

That's the rhetoric anyway.

What about the reality answers to that description better than yesterday of Yorkshire's national paper and even if you haven't bought his paper jobs are his journalism has reached James mitchinson is the editor of The Yorkshire post to remember the boy on the hospital during the recent election that was the Yorkshire Post story papule a government spin doctor and they devoted listeners to this show trust me and you want support for a grand infrastructure project in the North well.

These days.

It's the

Post that you call James welcome to the show I want to start going back to your own story your mum was a big fan of the news.

I hear and read news monster.

Yeah, and I didn't realise it at the time but Mum's death profoundly deaf so is kids going up the news was on and it was subtitles that actually ingrained news into my DNA is it worth because the subtitles on constantly very mine.

They were broadcasted a certain times and people came into the living room because there's only one television it did a number on me.

I think your dad do that.

Does a coal miner BBC Match Of Dad 7-days a week 12 hours a day underground, but it wasn't any ordinary call Mandy you know he was an electrician at the Sparks on the ground.

They were her different calibre of mine at least I thought they were and that's the way they sold it so Dad bought some good money you looking back.

It's pop star wages is still got a wage slip for £1,000 for the week from Marlborough

We wanted for nothing is kids and so really happy free trial in the past.

I hear that there was an accident that your dad went through a profound effect on your family.

So that was probably about my age little bit younger than I am now.

It was 36 37 at the roof felling on the ground.

He received quite severe trauma injuries you never worked again and that's quite difficult to take as young boy.

You know your hero.

He had a reputation for being a bit of a no-nonsense individual and suddenly to see this invincible individual or to move work and there was a moment where I caught him in floods of tears in the living room at remember it vividly, and he basically had sell almost everything that we had as a family to continue the coal mining village in North Nottinghamshire what he wanted to do with your life better than mom's side of the family have a military history and my brother went into the Royal Engineers

Explosive expert and when I was 16.

I thought I wanted to be in the Army so went off to Westbury to do a regular commissions board and the careers advice like that.

I received was going to get a degree and we like you very much because getting it be reopened number of doors and options and one of the options.

I wasn't keen on was being shot out for a living that you do a strange choice at the time parents were not elite chuffed with it.

I had an interview at Loughborough and get an English course, but really dislike into the person interviewed me and the the town of the Dulcet Tones of North Notts lad get judged a lot for the way you come across that just people from Northern Lights by the way, but yeah and I really hate felt like I've been charged by somebody who almost supercilious Lee belittled me in the interview.

Did you go to jail for that? They are selling no, I didn't I started applying for journalism jobs that.

I got a job in a bank, but there was a moment where Rotherham help people bank with the selling products in the product that will have to sell your bank account details people falling, but I need to sell them and I feel pressure to sell these bank accounts to people that really didn't need them that really was when I intensified my desire to get out and much to my father's displeasure because I was earning what I thought was the King's Ransom I was driving a BMW the job.

I took as a trainee reporter at the Worksop Guardian was £8,000 and earth.

Would you do a thing like that that's exactly what my dad said so21 was out of sheer determination having been turned down so I applied to the Works uploading when I was 18 and got turned down so armed with a first class honours English degree with super super proud of I tried again and the editor at times you're dropping some news no longer with us.

I didn't know this at the time but he was from the same Village I wasn't talking the same place.

I did and clearly knew.

Just because of the way you talk and where you from doesn't mean you can't be good to listen to the chance.

So I'm with the first bit of a chip on your shoulder you charged very quickly to the top of the Yorkshire Post let's talk about that title if you're in charge of very proudly show your patch predominantly the heartland is North Yorkshire so if you go into stereotype Yorkshire Post reader be a shepherdess from the Dales or indeed a farmer from the Dales but the sheer range of people we address business community people interested in politics as well as families so Saturday we still sell 40000 copies and reach a six-figure population that audiences largely young flourishing families and that Saturday's must be sell them during the week roughly 15 depending on the operation.

Jpimedia Yorkshire SO30 newsbrands 100 journalists sell 300000 newspapers a week we reach 2 million people with those newspapers because they get passed on not everybody buys sadly and we reach about three quarters of a million unique users a day so we get with talk a lot on the show and it's been sanctioned Story of My Life about the newspaper local newspaper rechargeable face particularly acute problem.

Can you give us a sense of how that's changed over time compared to when you took over or 3/5 years ago? How is the staffing in the size of your print reach changing before we go onto the digital prints in decline.

It's not an exaggeration to say that local print Media is in crisis and I think we have to pause a flight to make a decision as a society's of country is the weather or not you think local journalists doing public interest journalism for the betterment of the Communities they serve is a good.

How to refund it then because 25 years ago did Lord Mayor or look in the classified ads you don't need to do anymore cos the internet provider and there's lots of read online as well, so if readers won't pay and maybe they will and I know you're conducting an interesting experiment on that which will talk about how to write Derek grant from the government.

It makes me uneasy after say grants from tech Giants like Facebook and Google give me examples of the Facebook community reporters have been recruited into newsrooms around the country and the the brief was to give people an opportunity to get into newsrooms who otherwise might not get that opportunity and to The Newsroom to understand minority Communities so that means there are no listen.

I need rooms who perhaps like me may not have got the chance to feel crazy about that absolutely not I think you should pay more actually I think they don't interfere they don't dictate what journalism can be undertaken is there something that we should be crazy about it local democracy matters of local journalism matters.

Why shouldn't ultimately Californian company B funding what happens if the Worksop Guardian of the Yorkshire Post I've been up to your office I mean what's Mark Zuckerberg got to do with it? Why should he for journalism, but there is absolutely no reason why it should but I don't think it's a bad thing that he does.

I'm probably more and easy about government interference that I am private enterprise because if you look at what's happening to the BBC and Channel 4 right now at the hands of this government that far more sinister than I think anything I'm saying from any private interference scene 10 do it's brexit broadcast live to air via its own Tekken virus broadcast channel and not allowing a traditional broadcasted to play a part dividing and rule to me is far more worrying than Facebook community reporters been paid for by Mark Zuckerberg is it fair to say that your reader's are predominantly conservative voting? I don't think so it is fair to say that the Yorkshire Post

We would be associated with conservative voters but during my 10 years since January 2016.

My view is that we live in a time where people are far better informed than they've ever been this choice and I don't think it's for an editor of a newspaper to patronize people into who they shouldn't vote for I think it's our job to try to find the facts and allow people to me.

Did you enjoy the party at the election and that was your decision? Did you come under any pressure from KP I may be able to do that never come under pressure from anyone in the 20 years? I've worked for this company in its various guises to publish or otherwise any anything.

Where did you took over as editor six months or so for the brexit referendum? Where did you come down and that one you can do a search for the leader who wrote which said the auction house will not tell you what to think.

He was simply provoke you to think what your political influence.

I think it's fair to say does the

Grown significantly in recent years not least with the recent government and with the recent election.

Let's talk about that extraordinary tale of a boy and I'll still on the hospital floor which we must defer to the life of began at in your paper think of our listeners will remember it.

Just takes about the beginning what happened so we run a joint Newsroom the Yorkshire Post in the Yorkshire Evening Post side-by-side.

That's a city metropolitan city daily title and then the broadsheet county paper and it was a bog standard ringing as we used to call them, but nowadays it come in the form of an email so concerned mum son lying on the floor of the hospital in Leeds sends a photograph and send note the report I picked it up out of the box cause the Mum what's going on Mum tells her to report a dangerous go see what I call rock standard journalism the lowest the parcel possibly set that is to check what we've been told put the allegations accusations to remember the

Point that we did that the hospital confirmed story was true very quick apology and we published a story what followed I don't think I could have imagined never seen anything like it the mirror got hold of our story and they splashed it and coarse Jeremy Corbyn picked up a copy of the Daily Mirror and it was waving the ground at a labour rally and I think that gave permission for the story to be undermined.

I think the fact that red top tabloids haven't covered themselves and in recent years that gave permission for the Conspiracy cistern activists and lobbyists to start to discredit store in that's what happened.

So there was a coordinated concert on the table from literally thousands and thousands of Twitter accounts on Facebook accounts purportedly saying I have proved this is untrue the one that did the real damage was.

Who's account she later claimed to have been hacked but a lady who's the cast of I have a good friend who works at least General Infirmary I can tell you this isn't true and a source close to my has confirmed the story is fake that was the one that did the real damage and in the morning the next day.

I had an email from a reader and it was Margaret and she said I'm a long-term subscribe to the huffpost of taking all my life.

So my family been passed down from Generation to generation.

I'm cancelling my subscription.

You haven't check your facts.

She was outraged that we were published a story that was true because you read it on Facebook I responded to Margaret as I do every morning.

I was walking the dog 5:30 in the dark freezing cold, but she had a reply to to Margaret on my phone back to the office and I just took the level of publicity and the really scary nature of the way that this story had been attempted to be undermined I felt compelled to.

The letter the response tomorrow and Open Letter Margaret would be the only one who swallowed this fake news this I don't really see which had been picked by lots of mainstream.

Jones's wife saying that it wasn't just a Facebook social media thing that you know this person claiming to have a sort of hospital, but it gone it been mainstream by lots and lots of quite high profile Janice basic.

You're talking you're jealous that feel it gets in your stomach makes you doubt the veracity of the story.

You know we've been stitched up and I'm pleased to say that the journal it done Sharon your very quickly reassured me so clearly as I have to ask Dan exactly how is stored it up and then it from Dan was so solid and his working out so clearly logical methodical the feeling in the pit of the stomach went away and I felt compelled to defend my team to defend the journalism and you know what to defend our tree.

Good for Dan Sheridan did you get response from Margaret I did actually embarrassed? She has what she could do to guard against that in the future.

We exchanged several emails actually what lessons do you draw from the fact that the Conspiracy did go viral that you did have that feeling in the pit of your stomach and that you came under such to stay in date at first.

It was true sadness worry.

Why worry that the fakery is going to win quality journalism under attack and ordinary people those who are experts in journalism and media and the been tricked on the basis and they're not been tricked out of money.

They're being robbed of something much more profound than that they've been robbed of the most ubiquitous is right that we've had this principle the Fourth Estate being reliable somewhere you could turn a place you could trust place of sanctuary where truth existed there been deprived of that.

What's the role of the forces?

In an era of fake news and polarization probably the same as it was when Griffith right, they are the founder of the Yorkshire Post in 1754 and that is to responsibly convey news and information to readers and in a way that enhances the community scrutiny to power as well.

Yes, but I think for a local newspaper.

I think this much small display.

Did on election day called for urgent electoral reform it was a front post comment piece that I wrote and that was the one that the travel around the world in fact was the one that Washington Post and the New York Times picked up and the I think the line that really contraction was never again should the British electorate be asked to vote on who should manifesto of lies and deceit this huge international attention for the story about a hospital floor for your front page comic you offer yourself.

How's that?

Listen to Celsius is barely move the needle we didn't get a spanking subscribers.

We didn't get a spike in newspaper sales if I had a pound for every to eat then the Business of being rude health and that's that's the challenge now.

Let's actually look through the product.

I'm a sucker for newspapers in a tactile experience of holding them.

You've got I've got here three editions of the Yorkshire Post which he brought in November Communities hit by floods chaos.

Not the national emergency.

What do you think of a harness and what impact did it have that was the last splash we created in I suppose when South Yorkshire was on the water fish Lake was devastated and the initial response coming from government was that this is not a national emergency incredulous that response.

We it sounds like a dream across the page causes headlights to really stand out.

Jeremy Corbyn tweeted that front page and said I disagree with the prime minister.

This is a national emergency so we got we achieve the cut through that we anticipated.

It's a chunky.

Thank you for that your weekend paper and you come across your face as I say that what you're trying to do as an editor to shape it in your own image.

I wanted to give it back.

It's confidence I wanted to give it a campaigning strength.

It's always been held in high regard in our company is always been a flexion.

I remember as a trainee coming through the ranks.

We used to go to the Yorkshire posts brutalist building in Leeds and in the 24th or paintings of the Editors around the concourse and I remember thinking I really want one of those oil paintings.

It's going to be Monday I've not got one yet by the way as I get hold of it in 2016 the three-year plan was to restore the Yorkshire post to a nationally regarded title.

And the 276 pages edition that you got in front of you.

There is not just about Yorkshire it's about Britain when it comes to National reporting of nationalist or do you think that the reporting of those stories that still done from a southern perspective to London centric absolutely ages to sow HS2 by the national Media so the report was inverted commas leaked with 106 billion price tag on that I'm not really sure how this is 6 billion numbers been arrived at by the way because the Northern Lights as far as I'm aware.

It's just a bit of paper at the moment.

So I'm not sure who's costed up those squiggles, but the national Media bit on the leak and it broadcast the number with a loud hailer and it really scared people into thinking that a reckless waste of taxpayers' money, where is we tried to pause and reflect on who might be leaking that document while they're leaking what's the motive?

And ask questions about the provenance of the leak rather than grabbing a loud hailer and that's a different approach.

You got this campaign which is the power up the North campaign in combination with other titles that got the attention of number 10 Downing Street have been flirting with you.

Have they not have they reached out to you? They've been reaching out to us for a number of months 18 months or so, we had good relations with number 10 the Yorkshire post has been a leading voice on the abject failure of the Northern Rail franchise and so the transport sector been in our offices number 10 director communications leaking into our offices and there's been a sea change since the election.

I'm a BBC today.

I think they know that the power of the North campaign originated at the Yorkshire Post in conjunction with the Manchester Evening News so they know that either side of the Pennines with two.

Loud voices that can cause them a bit of toothache if if they want to so for now.

There is an open line of communication setting that the number 10 and 30 do not feeling very well used to prime minister of visits at Yorkshire Post prime minister's come to the Yorkshire post and I think they come because they're not subjected to got to gym in owls.

I think they feel that some national titles are out to just treat them up every time you do an interview with them my journalists ask probing questions.

I got one of the best political editors in the business in Rock Bar but they're not trying to catch them out.

They're not cynically trying to get a sound bite that can be played out for 48 hours across the airwaves and I think that means that they are willing to let go back to well you and your approach.

How do you split your time between editing exercise of judgement about stories Campos pictures people.

How to make money in save money digital strategy and management how do you put that sometime because I might go into the pores of the institution the more time you have to spend away from everything.

I've got a really good team who know what I want and they know how to do the really strong news list I like to get involved in the the big set plays I like to get involved in the the campaigning direction of the newspaper and I like to write every now and again.

That's kind of why I got into journalism and to report for example a cup of tea over at York Racecourse with the cost management those guys who have you seen me just had a Statutory notice the old trains in an hour long and cancelled on the day festival how big is festival of the Year that's also when the crickets on the head and mate.

Do you know about this? I said no surely know you must be mistaken and sure enough it was.

True in the I take that back to my team I pass on the the tip was it worth of the team and it turns into a front page it says really you shutting down people's ability to get in and out of the County on our biggest weekend of the year do the trains run at work.

Are you trying to change the culture of the newsroom and the avenues now? I hate a micro management.

I don't think you get the best out of people.

I do not like a Command and Conquer leadership style.

I like people to feel like I trust him and swimming powered.

I like them to get world-class Training and Development I'm acutely aware that I'm not the world's greatest leader.

I'm chilling editor.

I like to think I know how to find people who have the expertise you can help my team.

There's a stereotype that newspaper or newsrooms not necessary that the

I start early sexiest that there was the Yorkshire Post ever I don't think so I'm committed to The Newsroom that is diverse committed to a broad Church when it comes to the people that we recruit and you're probably recall I put an advert out for a female sports writer a few months ago and actually to Leeds United writers the first advert I put out we put out we didn't get a single female applicant for the job and I was really annoyed about that we did get an application from a 13-year old boy for the job.

I remember barking across the room.

I can't believe the 13-year old kid thinks he could do a good job and apply for it when I was single woman's applied for the job so in order to get rid of a tension between is a boy.

I would love this job, but as it happens.

I like a girl to have it but we got a large number of applications that.

From women who wanted to do the job it was an independent process clearly have to select the best candidate who got the job sounds like it is a man yeah, but she was brilliant.

So yes, we need to address the fact that I don't have a single female sports writer in The Newsroom and I am determined to address that that is number one priority, but it isn't easy.

What about the ownership of the Yorkshire Post because you're part of a new group called jpi Media formerly known partner is Johnston Press its approval offloaded the I newspaper she's gone to the Daily Mail group.

What's the future hold for the ownership of the Yorkshire post a year from now in the last couple of days.

Just to say that the company is no longer actively looking for a buyer so the chief executive has advised as the for now.

API media and his expectation is that we continue to do a good job must be a huge relief for your helpful because the uncertainty the copper and certain distract people so for David the chief exec to say last year was fantastic to have a great job when you're looking for a buyer keep doing a great job.

It just takes that Ellen to distraction and allows people to settle down and what's the future hold for you because the last time I sat in this particular studio the person.

You're there was once a Harold evans her former and editor of the northern title went on to National and global domination if you are offered at the end it with a the title of your dreams.

Would you can you find me Dad's London two things my heart isn't in national journalism.

My heart is in local journalism the there isn't a better local newspaper than the

So the the temptation to leave isn't strong one I have to say I've enjoyed the last four years on the Yorkshire Post I think we've achieved more than some of our counterparts of sheep in the last 4 years what I think I'd like to see is the Yorkshire Post become a fully fledged national available and every newsagents in the country.

That would be my dream and that would be a job.

Well done and completed on in my realistically they are expanding in terms of printers going to be tricky, so as you look ahead your next 3-year plan.

What do you actually trying to do the Yorkshire Post we are going to build out a large audience we're going to build out a an audience that enjoys the digital user experience for a start trust that we produce is willing to pay for it.

Thank you very much for your time.


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