Friday, 15 March 2013

Whitby Gazette and Jon Stokoe

The Whitby Gazette is the city paper of the Goth capital. It was also the first paper to publish the work of Lewis Carroll, a regular visitor from 1850-70.  Encouraged by the public reception - although self-critical about his early efforts -  the Reverend Dodgson went on to write the books which dominate children's literature upon which millions of pounds and thousands of jobs have depended.

Then in 1885 The Gazette recorded on 24 October:
"The Russian schooner Dmitri of Navra, with silver sand, came in suddenly, in heavy weather, but going ashore in Collier’s Hope because a total wreck"
The event camd to the notice of a visitor to Whitby, Bram Stoker, who also happened to find a name in a geography book in the local library which fired his imagination.  That wreck became the Demeter out of Varna, carrying the potent fictional character Dracula, which is why his landfall became the Goth capital.

Who knows, but if the editor of the Whitby Gazette had not carried that report perhaps Stoker might have had him come ashore somewhere else, thus depriving Whitby of millions of pounds of tourism income over a century later. 

Since 1854 the paper has maintained its place in the town and travels all over the world.   There is an online version but the interesting thing about the Whitby Gazette is that it is still growing in its paper distribution.  The online version is searchable but there is really no substitute for the discerning Goth or Steam punk or explorer; one simply must have a paper copy to read over tea no matter where that tea is taken.  The object itself, not just the data, is part of the experience with its nautical masthead and distinctive typeface.

Strange then that the owners, Johnston Press, are proposing to dispose of the editor.  Jon Stokoe bucks the trend in local papers.  While others are struggling,The Gazette is growing.  What ever he is doing, it is working.  Even asking the question makes only about as much sense as sacking Rumplestiltskin because it costs money to provide him with beer and sandwiches.  He's spinning straw in to gold, for goodness' sake.  Keep him at it.

A petition to save the editor has been set up to plead with Johnston to show economic sense. Jon Stokoe is worth the money and should be kept on.

Go here to sign the petition. 


Elby the Beserk said...

Signed. Find memories of the Gazette

the noblest prospect said...


I worked for Johnston's for many years, Mrs Woar. Common sense was never their forté.

Still no smoke from the best part of England, sadly.