Daily Post milestone: Newspaper celebrates 50,000th edition
- 23 September 2013
- From the section Wales
From the Crimea War to two world wars, Moon landings, John F Kennedy's assassination, and The Beatles in Bangor - the Daily Post has covered them all.
And now the newspaper that was brought to life in a small printer's shop in Liverpool almost 160 years ago is celebrating a stunning milestone - its 50,000th edition.
Spanning three centuries, the Daily Post is now the undisputed regional daily paper for north Wales. And while many still refer to it fondly as the Liverpool Daily Post, the newspaper has long cut the apron strings that tethered it to the Merseyside parent.
In 2013, the Post is a stand-alone north Wales paper printing two editions for north-east and north-west Wales, while its founding title back in Liverpool is now only a weekly sheet.
The original paper saw its birth at a time of revolution in the newspaper industry, as the government of the day under Lord Palmerston repealed the Stamp Act on 1 July 1855.
Quick to seize the moment, Liverpool entrepreneur Michael James Whitty brought out the very first edition of the Daily Post, hastily drawn up at a printer's shop in Lord Street in the city.
His intention was clear - to undercut the Liverpool paper of the time, the Mercury, by producing the very first one-penny regional newspaper in Britain.
And it worked. Fifty-years later, the Mercury would merge with the Post, while the company under the leadership of Alexander Grigor Jeans had grown in stature and reputation launching its sister evening title the Liverpool Echo.
The Jeans family held control of the Post as its company continued to expand into an international brand, and it was in the 1950s that veteran north Wales reporter Derek Bellis became a rookie reporter at the paper.
"Sir Alec Jeans was the boss, he was the third generation of that family to own that newspaper. He read every word that went into it," recalled Bellis - now 80, and still working as a journalist in north Wales.
"It was a broadsheet newspaper, it was very different times. I'll say it was challenging, and you had to be alert. It was a wonderful training ground, and some very famous journalists passed through that newsroom.
"It was before the emergence of television as a force in journalism, and looking back that made a huge difference. People relied on the printed word."
By the 50s, the Daily Post was already well established as the regional newspaper for north Wales - even though it still bore the masthead of Liverpool Daily Post.
"I remember going to a meeting which Sir Alec Jeans held with his district reporters. He asked Arthur Williams, a journalist who was based in Caernarfon, how things were going," explained Bellis.
"Arthur retorted: 'Mr Jeans, the Daily Post is next to the Bible in Caernarfon. Everybody believes what they read in that newspaper'."
Of course a lot has changed since the 1950s - especially in the newspaper industry.
One person to witness that relentless change is Judith Phillips. A reporter for weekly stable mate, the North Wales Weekly News, and a forthright columnist for the Daily Post itself, she has spent the last four decades in and out of the Daily Post's current HQ in Llandudno Junction.
"When I first started out things were so very different," she said.
"For instance trainee journalists at that time all wrote copy in longhand because there was only one typewriter in the office and the chief reporter had control of that.
"We had one telephone on the newsdesk and we all had to share that.
"We really got to know people in the community at first hand and built relationships with them."
Today, she insists, the skills remain the same - even if the technology is radically different.
"We still do that [build relationships] but we do it through different means, through email, social networking. I'm a huge fan of Twitter," she said.
"The basics though have never changed. You have to have a nose for news, you have to be able to communicate with people, and in print journalism you have to be able to to write a story that captures the reader's attention and imagination."
But how does the Daily Post, like every other newspaper, face the current challenges that the industry faces - in particular the rise of the internet?
In the case of the Post the answer appears to be: Fight fire with fire.
"I think the media industry as a whole has gone through a... kind of evolution rather than revolution," remarks the Daily Post's executive online editor Dan Owen.
"We've got to understand that people's habits with regards to the news are changing. If we don't adapt to that then we are going to find ourselves in a lot of trouble."
In fact it appears the Post has always been keen to adopt the latest technology to get its stories out and first started touting its online internet presence back towards the end of the 1990s.
"We are very much online and have been for several years," said Owen.
"But you'll see different things creeping in week-to-week at the moment. We've launched an e-edition of the paper, so you can physically turn pages of a paper on your tablet, your iPad.
"And in the last week we've launched an app as well. We're going with the times and making sure that we are keeping up to speed with how people want to digest news."