Daily Post milestone: Newspaper celebrates 50,000th edition

Lloyd George's death Tuesday, 27 March, 1945: David Lloyd George, the only Welshman to become prime minister, dies at his home in Llanystumdwy, Gwynedd
Daily Post headline on the death of JF Kennedy Saturday, 23 November, 1963: John F Kennedy is shot dead in Dallas, Texas
Tryweryn protest - Daily Post Friday, 22 October 1965: Protests over the flooding of the Bala village of Capel Celyn to create a drinking water reservoir for Liverpool
Prince Charles investiture Wednesday, 2 July, 1969: Prince Charles's investiture as the Prince of Wales in Caernarfon Castle
Moon landing Monday, 21 July, 1969: First man on the moon is celebrated
Town Floods - Daily Post Wednesday, 28 February 1990: Floods devastate the seaside town of Towyn - by now the Daily Post is a tabloid newspaper
Princess Diana's death - Daily Post Monday, 1 September, 1997: The death of Princess Diana
Daily Post newspapers The modern Daily Post - as the 50,000th milestone is finally reached

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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.

Start Quote

It was before the emergence of television as a force in journalism, and looking back that made a huge difference”

End Quote Derek Bellis, veteran journalist

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saw its birth at a time of revolution in the newspaper industry, as the government of the day under Lord Palmerston repealed the Stamp Act on 1 July 1855.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.

Daily Post graffiti Graffiti close to the Daily Post offices reflect the warmth felt for the paper 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."

Changing times

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.

DAILY POST HISTORY:

  • 1855: Paper launched from Lord Street in Liverpool by Michael James Whitty - a man who became Liverpool's first chief constable - and established the city's fire service
  • 1869: Edward Russell begins a 50-year reign as editor - receiving a knighthood in 1893. The Liverpool Echo is also born
  • 1904: The Daily Post and Liverpool Mercury merge - though it is the Daily Post name that ultimately survives. Alexander Jeans is managing director - himself knighted in 1918
  • 1919: Russell becomes Baron Russell of Liverpool - dies the following year
  • 1955: Post celebrates centenary with a service at Liverpool Cathedral
  • 1957: Colour photographs appear in the paper for the very first time
  • 1981: The Post becomes a tabloid newspaper
  • 1986: The Post and Echo split from parent company to form Trinity International - which becomes the UK's largest regional publisher when it buys Thomson Corporation in 1996
  • Trinity merges with Mirror group
  • 2003: Welsh edition of Daily Post is launched - separate from the Liverpool paper
  • 2005: 150th celebrations
  • 2013: 50,000th edition is published

Source: 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.

Start Quote

The basics though have never changed. You have to have a nose for news, you have to be able to communicate with people”

End Quote Judith Phillips, Daily Post columnist

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.

Daily Post office Landmark location: Nestling between Conwy and Llandudno Junction, the HQ is known affectionately as the Daily Post roundabout

"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."

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