New Whitby title hires sacked editor as columnist

David Prior's picture
by David Prior

A new monthly newspaper is set to launch in Whitby - with Jon Stokoe, who was controversially sacked as editor of the Whitby Gazette earlier this year, signed up as a columnist.

The Whitby Mag will have an initial print run of 15,000 and will start distribution in the second half of August, with a September cover date.

It's the brainchild of former accountant Kathy Finkel, now a part-time psychotherapist and clinical supervisor.

Former Gazette editor Jon Stokoe Former Gazette editor Jon Stokoe

Former Whitby Advertiser designer Tommy Taylor is the other full-time member of staff, but there will also be a team of freelancers writing about local news, events and sport. Finkel has also hired sales and distribution specialists.

The first issue will have a 50/50 editorial/advertisement split, but this will settle down to around 25-30%.

Stokoe, who was sacked by Johnston Press despite the Gazette being one of only 13 paid-for weeklies in the country to have registered a circulation rise in the latest ABC figures, will be able to write about a subject of his choosing.

Since leaving the Gazette, he has set up his own media and PR company, Stokoe Media, and will start a four-month sub-editing stint at the Lincolnshire Echo next month.

Finkel, who said her new project provided a "nice counterbalance" to her other work, insisted there was definitely a gap in the marketplace for the Mag.

She told Prolific North: "The Whitby Gazette is prohibitively expensive to advertise in, and our advertising rates are about 60% lower than our one main competitor, the Whitby Advertiser.

"We will be offering much more content than the Advertiser but it will definitely be a commercial enterprise - I'm certainly looking to make an income from it."

The title will be partnering with a different school each week, whose pupils will design and supply a double-page spread.

Five per cent of profits will also be going to the Whitby Lifeboats charity and Finkel is looking to raise £5,000 for the same cause through a sponsored bike ride in September.

All editions of the title will be available online.