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History through local newspapers in Yorkshire & the Humber Region


A Survey looking at the public use of newspapers in Yorkshire and Humberside October 2001

One of the aims of the Newsplan 2000 project, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund is to increase public awareness to local newspaper files by microfilming the original copies and having microfilm copies more readily available in libraries.

The Heritage Lottery Fund ruled that there should be some kind of baseline measure against which any increase or decrease in public interest could be judged. All ten Newsplan regions of the UK were asked to conduct a spot-survey of present newspaper use in 2001/2002 and, to date, eight out of the ten regions have complied.

At the end of the Newsplan 2000 project a similar survey will be undertaken and the results of this will be compared with the first set of statistics.

The Yorkshire and Humberside Use of Newspapers Survey was conducted during the first fortnight of October 2001. Kate Holliday of Yorkshire Libraries and Information co-ordinated the exercise with the assistance of the fifteen library authorities in the region.

The questionnaire for the public was based on the original LASER survey questionnaire, slightly adapted by the regional Newsplan committee. Kate Holliday and her team at Wakefield Libraries produced the questionnaire, distributed it to the library authorities and aggregated the results by computer counting. Two reports were created:

a report for each individual authority taken from their returns
a combined regional report

The analysis for Yorkshire and Humberside is shown here for interest:-

It is calculated that in the region c669 valid responses were returned. North Yorkshire, for example, returned 137 responses from a bulk delivery of 300 questionnaires

Most researchers in the region travelled under 20 miles to look at microfilmed newspapers

The most popular subject for research was 'local history', followed by 'sport'

The least popular subject from the given headings was 'house history'

The survey results from Yorkshire and Humberside are to be amalgamated with those of the other UK regions. By doing this, the British Library Newspaper Librarian, Ed King, hopes to demonstrate how the local and national press is appreciated by researchers and the general public.

Elizabeth Melrose
Yorkshire and Humberside Newsplan Committee
February 2002



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