As reported by Mariella Brown on the Society of Editors website on 20 August:
James Mitchinson announced the trial today saying at this stage there is no paywall for readers.
In a letter to readers, the editorial director for Yorkshire said that there was “no question” that coronavirus has changed everything.
Readers have been asked to “pay us what you think we are worth” with Mitchinson offering a starting point of £5 per month as an investment in quality, independent journalism.
The move follows a number of announcements by regional publishers including the Post’s owner JPIMedia and rival Newsquest that online subscriptions and paywalls would be introduced to monetise the surge in readership produced by the Covid-19 crisis.
Referencing the awards won by the paper at the recent SoE Regional Press Awards, Mitchinson added that these accolades have come from listening to people in the communities the paper serves and working alongside them.
James Mitchinson wrote: “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.”