A petition launched by Press Gazette to save Whitby Gazette editor Jon Stokoe from redundancy has been signed by more than 1,000 people.
It emerged on Wednesday last week that John Stokoe has been placed at risk of redundancy by Johnston Press despite being at the helm of the UK’s fifth fastest growing fully paid-for weekly newspaper, up 2.1 per cent with a cover price rise from 55p to 90p. Only 13 out of 373 paid for-weekly newspapers in the UK managed to grow their sale in the second half of 2012.
It is proposed the title come under the group editorship of Ed Asquith at the Scarborough News.
Former Gazette staff photographer Doug Jackson said: “It seems to me that the Scarborough News is just making this cost-based decision from a remote point of view.
“Whitby is small town and taking him away despite the Whitby Gazette being one of the few papers that are still doing well is just crazy to me.”
Whitby councillor Joe Plant said he fully supported the local #saveourstokoe Twitter campaign – telling Press Gazette it was an example of “the community showing loyalty to one of their own”.
He also highlighted Stokoe’s “empathy with the community he serves, his loyalty to Whitby and causes close to the hearts of Whitby people, and his passion for the town, and the integral part he plays in town affairs”.
One reader wrote on Press Gazette’s online petition: “I will not be buying [the] Whitby Gazette until this issue is addressed.”
Another said: “Whitby folk will not stand for being pushed around by Scarborough in this way. Watch out for a massive backlash!”
Jon Stokoe thanked campaigners via Twitter last week: “So many calls, texts and messages. Thank you each and every one of you, I am completely overwhelmed and humbled.”
Johnston Press declined to comment pending the outcome of a consultation period.