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Jon Stokoe, editor of the Whitby Gazette, must have felt rather pleased about the latest set of ABC figures for regional newspapers. His title was one of just 13 paid-for weeklies in the UK to record a sales rise.
He guided his paper to a 2.1% year-on-year increase in circulation, up from 9,341 copies to a weekly average of 9,540. Given the relentless downward sales trend for newsprint papers, that has to be seen as a creditable performance.
So imagine Stokoe’s shock the day after the figures were released to be told his job has been given to someone else.
And it is the editor of the News, Ed Asquith, who has been chosen to edit the Gazette. (He’ll be busy – he also edits the Malton & Pickering Mercury and Filey Mercury).
Evidently, Stokoe is “in discussions” with Johnston Press about his future. But colleagues believe it’s just a matter of going through the formalities. The editor will go, as will the Gazette’s offices.
Stokoe, 38, has edited the Gazette for two years following an 18-month stint as acting editor. He has lived in Whitby since he was a boy and first joined the paper as a trainee reporter in 1995.
Incidentally, the Scarborough News – which switched from daily to weekly publication last May – has recorded six successive months of declining sales. In July last year it sold an average of 15,936 copies. By December that was down to 13,085 – a six-month fall of 17.9%.
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010