The Yorkshire Bible
When times were hard and trust is needed, I've learnt to never look further than The Yorkshire Bible.
APRIL 14th, 2020
n a white farmhouse on the edge of a large garden in the middle of Beeston, Leeds, stood Red Hall Farm. It was a unique building, which throughout the decades had adapted to the evolving environment of farmland, to housing estate. In part it had been sold to developers, knocked down and transformed into flats. The kitchen therefore had been severed into three different areas of the house – a porch, a tiny cubby with a sink, and a narrow room which resembled the more traditional kitchens. The Garage was the disused trailer of a scrap-metal truck, and an old 1970’s caravan doubled as a sketching room.
Whilst life had transformed Red Hall Farm, there was one continuing visitor which had remained absolute in its presence and in the lives of those who called this house home – The Yorkshire Post.
Someone who was exposed to this historic regional newspaper was a young boy whose dream of writing had begun after being challenged with the task of creating a short story in school – based around an army of Roman soldiers battling a mythical Dragon.
This introduction to The Yorkshire Post happened in the downtime of the Summer Holidays, where every Tuesday, Red Hall Farm would become home for the day. With an Aladdin’s cave to explore – from a giant model railway in the cellar, to the numerous boardgames hidden away in cupboards, there was never any excuse to be bored.
But for this young boy – watching with forensic attention as his grandfather digested the days events from the pages of the newspaper, he nicknamed his “Yorkshire Bible”, an edifying interest began to take hold.
Who created the Yorkshire Post? Who wrote the stories? How could he, one day, do the same? The infectious need to not only ask questions, but seek out the answers, ignited through those Summer holidays, and even today continue to burn.
The young boy, whose creative writing began to fade in favour of the informative and factual world of Journalism, was me.
As a youngster, choosing your projected career path changes as often as the seasons. From one day to another, the differing roles you see for yourself consistently fall in and out of favour, and the older you become, the quicker those aspirations blend with reality. Those who dream of becoming an astronaut very rarely make it to a space museum, let alone the Moon. The many aspiring musicians progress no further than the stadium seats and fail to reach the stage. The alluring fortune and fame illuminating from the golden hills of Hollywood allude the vast majority of all those who dream of basking in its envious glow.
However, for others, the familiar sentence: “When I grow up, I want to be…” becomes more than just an aspiration, but a guiding force to a fully-fledged career. That instantaneously recognisable statement first left my mouth during one of those summers at Red Hall Farm, and The Yorkshire Post was the catalyst.
For those who are fortunate enough to call ‘God’s Own Country’ their home, then our regional newspaper will be as recognisable as our Yorkshire Tea, or our unbeatable dales. As one of the UK’s oldest broadsheets, over the past few years, it has understandably become one of the country’s most trusted. It isn’t hard to see why.
Without fear or favour, The Yorkshire Post compiles honest debate, fact-based journalism and reporting without the dominating click-bait mentality we see so potently today. It is of no surprise that this regional newspaper has begun to capture national attention.
For many, especially those from Yorkshire, The Yorkshire Post is how newspapers used to be. Without sensational headlines, cheap gimmicks, or the worrying levels of misinformation that so willingly adorn most of the national outlets on offer – The Yorkshire Post are measured, consistent and, most importantly, trustworthy.
Trust is quite a feat to achieve nowadays. In a recent survey conducted by YouGov, only 19% of those asked trusted the Mainstream Media. That is a shocking number – and deeply troubling. In our own online poll, we asked whether our readers preferred national news outlets or local. 73% trusted their local newspapers, whereas 18% preferred national outlets. I must admit, there was a sense of pride which burst in my chest at these numbers. Not because I dislike our national news, but these results instilled in me – as it should all of us – the desperate need for local newspapers.
I have found that journalism can be just as effective and powerful on the local stage as it is on the national. The Yorkshire Post is proof of this.
Newspapers should speak for those they represent. I have yet to find a national newspaper which speaks for communities more effectively than the local outlets on offer. Why? Taking the Yorkshire Post as our example, the metaphorical journalistic finger is firmly pressed upon the community pulse. There is a keener and fuller understanding of the issues which effect people local to Yorkshire. Whether it be Northern Rail, Devolution deals or even the political feeling during an election, our local outlets are closer to the communities – because they are part of our communities.
As the coronavirus continues to take hold of our day-to-day lives, we all have come to rely on our newspapers more than ever before. For many people, especially those most vulnerable to the virus, The Yorkshire Post has become a window to the outside, when all of us are currently isolating inside.
Whether it be through reports, stories or letters, The Yorkshire Post is bringing the region into our homes every day, and quite impressively, considering what is a deeply challenging time. But it has also begun to reach out nationally through one artistic medium – art.
Graeme Bandeira – The Yorkshire Post’s cartoonist – has consistently captured the Nation’s attention with his deeply poignant and moving illustrations throughout the ensuing pandemic. Whether it be a nurse holding aloft a coronavirus shaped Earth, or a World War II soldier carrying a stretcher alongside one of our incredible NHS Nurses, it is hard to see a better interpretation of the national and regional feeling at this time.
But all these sentiments are facing a troubling threat. With a decrease in Ad Revenue, and the public unable to visit shops and supermarkets, local newspapers are facing uncertainty. We, the readers, can help end that ambiguity. Through subscription, donations or even support, we can help promote the platforms our local outlets offer to elevate our voices. The work they are doing is vital for journalism, media and communities. If we lose our regional newspapers, we will grieve a strong defender of our society and values. We need the Yorkshire Post; we need local journalism.
Over the past weeks in lockdown, reading The Yorkshire Post has reinstated why, as a boy, I said: “when I grow up, I want to be a journalist.” It has become a beacon of optimism and a local champion of the region I have called home. To me, those summers at Red Hall Farm will forever be linked with this iconic newspaper. It is as embedded in the fabric of my aspirations and career path as any University degree or exam. We must protect, celebrate and invest in our local broadsheets, and, like my grandfather, see the Yorkshire Post as the nation’s “Yorkshire Bible.”
To help support The Yorkshire Post through the Pandemic you can subscribe online here.
Postal subscriptions can be ordered by calling 0330 4030066.
Or you can e-mail: email@example.com
To purchase one of Graeme Bandeira's amazing prints - like we did - you can find them here.
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