News media in the North

A lively independent news media based in the North, serving the North, is an absolutely vital ingredient of the “genuinely inclusive Northern Powerhouse partnership” we are looking for at the Northern Umbrella.

The purpose of this Northern Umbrella directory page is to try to catalogue the good stuff that is already happening in the North.  It is also about thinking about how we can get more.  Please find on this page:

  1. Introduction
  2. Print and web publications directory
  3. Comprehensive list of the North’s local newspapers
  4. The best of the rest of UK’s alternative media



In our article “The need for a Northern Umbrella in 2017”, we noted that the North is in a very vulnerable position because of its lack of an independent media.  In June 2016, the North voted to “take back control”, but in the area of its own information supply, it has scant control indeed.

The newspaper market – broadsheets and tabloids – is dominated by London newspapers owned by offshore oligarchs.  None any longer publish a meaningfully different North of England edition.  For mainstream local and regional newspapers just three companies, each controlled from London, have a stranglehold.  Our list at Section 3 shows them owning 131 out of the 140 listed.

Many of the North’s mainstream newspapers have a proud heritage and do good work today.  But all are in decline whilst being ruthlessly milked by their parent companies.  In magazines, TV and radio the picture is different but also bleak.  The BBC in the regions is a stronger effort, but it also is too weak.  The overall picture is that the North receives rather than sets its own all-important “news agenda” that determines what gets discussed and what gets buried.

Of course, the concentration of media ownership is a national problem for England as a whole, and the Murdoch bid for total control over Sky TV will take this to a crisis point in 2017.  A media reform agenda is emerging, such as through the Media Reform Coalition, which we strongly support.  But the North needs its own specifically Northern dimension to the media reform agenda, and the North itself must develop that.

The blogosphere in the North is also disappointingly, and puzzlingly, thin.  There are some excellent initiatives, and we try here to catalogue these.  But in general, the North’s lack of its own profile on the internet can be seen as part and parcel of the wider hollowing-out of the North’s own institutions and loss of control to London and offshore.

The North can learn an enormous amount from Scotland.  Scotland has a lively, well-established mainstream media and an even livelier independent media, particularly on the web, which finds much of its energy from profound dissatisfaction with the mainstream’s output.  The bias pumped out by the mainstream media during the Scottish independence referendum of 2014 caused a tremendous response in terms of alternative information sources.  More people now read the ‘Wings Over Scotland’ website than any of the Scottish editions of the UK tabloid newspapers.  The best of Scotland’s alternative media is catalogued at Section 4.

In many ways the North at present resembles Wales.  This article about the situation in Wales, “The BBC and Wales’s information deficit” by Daniel Evans on the Open Democracy website, could easily be about the North.  It argues that “Welsh people need to explore alternative media forms to create a Welsh public sphere”, and is well worth reading in full.  It is positive that Wales is at least recognising that it has got a problem.  The North needs to do the same.

A first step we are taking here is to catalogue the best of the North’s print and web media.  The catalogue below is a work in progress and will inevitably be incomplete.  If you can help to improve it, please contact us at northern dot umbrella at hotmail dot com.


Their own description or masthead is in italics. 

Covering the North as a whole

Big Issue North The independent street paper.  Fortnightly magazine based in Manchester with distribution offices in Liverpool, Leeds, Sheffield, Hull, York and Preston.  (Note:  Newcastle and the North East is covered by the UK Big Issue magazine published in London and Glasgow.)

The Northern Weekly Salvo  Paul Salveson’s digest of railwayness, tripe and secessionist nonsense from Up North and Mid Wales.  Descendant of Teddy Ashton’s Northern Weekly.  Regular web-only newsletter from the General Secretary of the Hannah Mitchell Foundation.

The Skinny  Independent cultural journalism.  “we offer informed, entertaining coverage of all things cultural, constantly seeking out new developments before the crowds catch on.”  Based in Salford, The Skinny North West was launched in 2013, and became The Skinny North in 2016, covering the Manchester, Liverpool and Leeds metro areas.  The Skinny is published by Radge Media Ltd, based in Edinburgh, which has been publishing The Skinny in Scotland since 2003.

Skyscraper City  In urbanity we trust.  The world’s largest online forum on urban topics.  The very active UK & Ireland Architecture Forums have discussion forums for Manchester Metro Area, Liverpool Metro Area, Leeds Metro Area, Sheffield Metro Area and ‘North East England’, covering Tyneside, Wearside, Teesside and Humberside.  Comment:  An extremely useful resource for the latest information and independent discussion of land and property development issues in the North.

The Double Negative  Arts criticism and cultural commentary.  Based in Liverpool, established in 2011.  “Our mission: to hold a mirror up to the UK arts scene — in particular the North-West and North of England — and reflect it, uncovering and analysing the talent based here.”

Counterfeit Magazine  a Music and Arts magazine put together to support and give exposure to budding new bands, artists and groups throughout the North of England.  Music and gig reviews.  Web-only based descendant of the Sandman magazine, founded in Sheffield in 2003 and which had editions covering Leeds, Hull. York, Manchester and Nottingham.

Bdaily  Online publisher of UK regional business news.  Based in Newcastle, with separate editions for the North East, Yorkshire & Humber and the North West, and a special Northern Powerhouse business news section.

Northern Light magazine  Intelligent Connectivity.  Quarterly corporate magazine from Transport for the North, England’s first sub-national transport body.

N8 Research Partnership Newsletter  Knowledge, Innovation and Growth for the North.  Quarterly corporate newsletter of the N8 partnership of the Universities of Durham, Lancaster, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Sheffield and York.

Covering Sheffield City Region

Now Then  A magazine for Sheffield.  A monthly free arts, culture and politics magazine with editions in Sheffield and Manchester.  Published online and in print with copies picked up from shops, venues, cafes, pubs etc.  Published by Opus Independents, a not-for-profit, independent organisation working in culture, politics and the arts.  Comment:  Now Then is perhaps the exemplar of the independent northern media Northern Umbrella rates highly and would like to see more of.  In its own words: “We aim to cultivate choice, voice and responsibility by providing a platform for independent art, trade, music, writing and local news. We support Sheffield’s economy by only working with independent traders, community groups, charities and local government.”

Sheffield Telegraph.  Newspaper originally founded in 1855, published weekly since 1989.  Part of the Johnston Press plc stable of local and regional newspapers.

The Star.  Daily local paper from Johnston Press’s Sheffield Newspapers subsidiary.

Sheffield ForumFor everything Sheffield.  Voluntarily moderated message boards with 555,329 topics and 190,759 registered users, with topic headings covering News & Discussions, Going Out, Sports & Activities, Property & Housing, History & Expats, Business & Employment and Sheffield Interest Groups.  Comment: Impressively active and broad site.

Forge Press  Student news and happenings in the steel city.  Fortnightly independent student newspaper from the University of Sheffield Students Union.  Forge also has a radio station and TV.

Covering the North East

The Crack  What’s going on in the north of England’s music clubs, art and film, dance, restaurants and culture.   Listings and lifestyle magazine based in Newcastle, covering the North East.  Print edition monthly, web newsletter weekly.  Pick up free in pubs, cafes, restaurants, shops, galleries, libraries and cinemas.  Established 2009.

The Journal  Morning newspaper published daily in Newcastle since 1832.  One of the ncj newspapers alongside the daily Chronicle (formerly the Evening Chronicle) and the Sunday Sun.  The web product is called Chronicle Live.  Part of the Trinity Mirror plc stable of local and regional newspapers.

North East Times  The North East’s most popular and stylish business and lifestyle publication.  Print edition 10 times per year.  Based in Northumberland, established 1981.

I Love Newcastle Online lifestyle and listings magazine based in Houghton-le-Spring.  Established 2014.

The CourierNewcastle University Students’ Union’s free weekly newspaper (termtime).  Established 1948.

Liverpool City Region

Liverpool Echo  Daily newspaper published in Liverpool since 1879.  Published by Trinity Mirror Merseyside.

Seven Streets  We know where you live.  Founded in 2011 and based in Liverpool.  “We focus on the things that genuinely excite us, and the discoveries we want to share with you.  The stuff that’s remained stubbornly off the radar for too long.  We believe people are hungry for experiences that connect them to each other.  Existing media often works to a different agenda.  We’re trying something different.  We want to make the most of Merseyside.”  Comment:  A very good blog site covering civic issues as well as lifestyle, but has gone a bit quiet since March 2016.

Nerve magazine.  Promoting awareness, social issues, critical thinking, culture and so much more.  Published occasionally by Catalyst Media in Liverpool, available free from independent shops in the city.  Established 2003.

Southport Reporter  Your online newspaper for Merseyside and the Liverpool City Region.  News website based in Southport, publishing since 2000.

The Sphinx  The University of Liverpool’s student newspaper.  Established 1893.

The Low Down  The definitive Liverpool listings guide.  Established 2013.


Yorkshire Post  Yorkshire’s national newspaper.  Daily morning broadsheet newspaper published daily in Leeds since 1866.  Covers the whole of Yorkshire, with satellite offices in Harrogate, Hull, Scarborough, Sheffield and York.  Now owned by Johnston Press plc.

The Yorkshire Times  Your local online newspaper.  “Sorry, we don’t do advertising! Frankly it stinks! However, we are delighted to accept sponsorship for each of our main pages. The YT is a community run not-for-profit enterprise so 100% of your sponsorship funding goes to improving and broadening our coverage and, very importantly, creating opportunities for new writers.”  Based in Skipton, established in 2011.

Yorkshire Life  Lifestyle magazine for the “county set”.  Although: “Yorkshire Life is not just for the Yorkshire set. If you were born in Yorkshire, live in Yorkshire or simply aspire to our lifestyle then you are a Yorkshire Life reader.” Based in Ripon, covering the whole of Yorkshire.  Print edition every other month.  Owned by Archant Media Ltd of Norwich.

West Yorkshire

The Yorkshire Evening Post, Daily local paper for Leeds and West Yorkshire, a tabloid counterpart to the Yorkshire Post.  Published since 1890.  Owned by Johnston Press Ltd

Bradford Telegraph & Argus  Daily local paper published in Bradford since 1868.  Owned by Newsquest Ltd, the British subsidiary of Gannett Inc.

Huddersfield Daily Examiner   Daily local paper published in Huddersfield since 1871.  Owned by Trinity Mirror plc

Independent Leeds magazine.  Notoriety through originality.  “Helps you to get away from the usual high street names and delve deeper into the underbelly of the city’s independent scene.”  Listings and lifestyle website with free printed magazine published quarterly.  Also publishes The Little Black Book guide to Leeds and hosts Leeds Welcome, a phone app for visitors to the city.

The Gryphon  The official newspaper of Leeds University.  Leeds University’s student newspaper, formerly Leeds Student.  Established 1970.

Hebden Bridge Web HebWeb – the UK’s first community website.  Lively website covering all matters to do with Hebden Bridge and Calderdale, established in 1995.  Comment:  A really excellent example of what all the North’s towns and places could aspire to have, to improve civic information and debate.

To follow: Greater Manchester, Lancashire.


Below is a list of 139 local newspapers published in the North.  Of these, 130 are published by just three media groups: Trinity Mirror plc, Johnston Press plc (based in London) and Newsquest Ltd, part of Gannett Inc, based in Virginia, USA.  Six are owned by Cumbrian Newspapers Group Ltd, a private company based in Carlisle and three by Regional Media Ltd, based in Rotherham.  Some of the links provided are to the newspaper’s Wikipedia entry, from which a link to the paper’s own website can usually be easily found.  Some of the links do not work.



Greater Manchester


Liverpool City Region

North and East Yorkshire

North East

South Yorkshire

Tees Valley

West Yorkshire



To follow.