The Sentinel (Staffordshire)

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The Sentinel
The Sentinel logo.png
The Sentinel logo
Type Daily newspaper Monday to Saturday
Format Tabloid
Owner(s) Local World
Editor Martin Tideswell
Staff writers Specialists: Dave Blackhurst (Health), Kathie McInnes (Education), Phil Corrigan (City Council), Jon Bamber/Dianne Gibbons (court), Ann King (Business), Martin Spinks/Peter Smith (Stoke City FC), Mike Baggaley (Port Vale FC), Richard Sharpe (Crewe Alex FC), John Woodhouse (columnists/TV), Colette Warbrook (Nostalgia).
Founded January 7, 1854
Political alignment Nonpartisan
Language English
Headquarters Sentinel House,
Etruria,
Stoke-on-Trent,
United Kingdom
Circulation 37,481 (30th December 2013 - 29th June 2014)[1]
Website http://www.stokesentinel.co.uk

The Sentinel is a daily regional newspaper circulating in the North Staffordshire and South Cheshire area. It is currently owned by Local World and based at,[2] Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent.

It is the sixth biggest-selling regional newspaper in the UK and is the only newspaper delivering daily news and features on professional football clubs Stoke City, Port Vale and Crewe Alexandra. The Sentinel also operates an online website with sections on news, sport and entertainment as well as a comprehensive directory of local businesses. The company also uses Twitter and Facebook to break news and communicate with readers. The Sentinel is the biggest newspaper in the Local World group.

The publication, which became a morning paper in March 2009,[3] is printed from Monday to Saturday and has three editions daily – a main edition, a Cheshire edition and a Staffordshire Moorlands edition. It is currently celebrating its 160th anniversary.

Circulation area[edit]

The Sentinel’s patch includes the six towns of The Potteries (Hanley, Burslem, Tunstall, Fenton, Longton and Stoke), Newcastle-under-Lyme, Leek, Cheadle, Cheddleton, Crewe, Nantwich, Alsager, Sandbach, Stafford, Stone, Biddulph, Congleton and Eccleshall.[citation needed]

From 30th December 2013 to 29th June 2014, it had an average daily circulation of 37,481.[1]

Content[edit]

A front page from The Sentinel newspaper

The major local news story of the day is carried on the front page.

The remainder of the content given over to local news, sport and features. This will include news affecting readers including council news from Stoke-on-Trent City Council, reports of crimes, fires, accidents and other emergencies. The newspaper also carries small summaries of local court cases for minor offences, while more major or unusual crimes often have a story to themselves. There are generally at least two letters pages as well as a section for announcements and advertisements by local people and businesses.

Long-standing supplements mark the different days of the week. For example, the Business, Education and Jobs supplement on Wednesdays or the Motors and Homes supplement compiled by award-winning journalist John Swift. The Weekend Sentinel, published on Saturdays, contains lifestyle pages, the Green 'Un sports paper and the hugely popular Way We Were bygones supplement.

There is a TV listing for the day's viewing and on Saturdays there is a listing for the week ahead. There are regular reviews of various television programmes, theatre productions and restaurants, amongst other things such as video games and films. The Sentinel's website www.thesentinel.co.uk includes many of the stories available in the paper, as well as a comments box for each story.

The Sentinel prides itself on investigative journalism and campaigning. In recent years it worked hard to expose the mismanagement of Port Vale Football Club, was responsible for the installation of the Staffordshire Saxon warrior sculpture at the Potteries Museum and Art Gallery to celebrate the acquisition of the Staffordshire Hoard and successfully battled to save the name of the Staffordshire Regiment after the Third Battalion of the Mercian Regiment (Staffords) was recently axed under Government cuts to the UK armed forces.

Community ethos[edit]

The unique campaigns, events and awards ceremonies which are organised by The Sentinel's journalists are aimed at fostering community spirit and championing its circulation area of North Staffordshire and South Cheshire.

These include the City of Stoke-on-Trent Sports Awards,[4] the annual Our Heroes community awards,[5] and Stoke's Top Talent - a variety contest organised in conjunction with The Regent theatre. The Sentinel also runs of the the most successful regional business awards - The Sentinel Business Awards.

All manner of local celebrities support The Sentinel's community events - including, among others, TV personalities Nick Hancock, Anthea Turner and Wendy-Turner Webster, stage star Jonathan Wilkes, Potteries entertainer Pete Conway, Potteries football icons Robbie Earle, Mark Bright, John Rudge and Lou Macari, World Cup-winning England goalkeeper Gordon Banks, Olympic hockey gold-medallist Imran Sherwani and former England test batsman Kim Barnett.

Columnists[edit]

The Sentinel has a stable of popular columnists. This included the late John Abberley, a Potter born and bred, who had been a journalist for more than 60 years.

Other columnists include the ascerbic TV critic John Woodhouse, historian and Stoke-on-Trent South MP Tristram Hunt, local historian Fred Hughes and The Sentinel's Deputy Editor Rob Cotterill.

The Sentinel has also introduced columns from its specialist writers including health correspondent Dave Blackhurst, business editor Ann King, education writer Kathie McInnes and data journalist David Elks.

Sports columnists include former Port Vale player and ITV football pundit Robbie Earle as well as former Manchester United star, ex-Stoke City manager and TV pundit Lou Macari and broadcasting legend Gerald Sinstadt.

May un Mar Lady[edit]

Main article: May un Mar Lady

May un Mar Lady is a comic strip written in Potteries dialect that first appeared on 8 July 1986 in the North Staffordshire Evening Sentinel and has been a local institution for a quarter of a century. The full twenty-year run (7,000 strips) of cartoonist Dave Follows' daily cartoon strip was republished in The Sentinel, as May un Mar Lady Revisited.

Sentinel columnist Alan Cookman described the comeback as: "The most exciting homecoming since Stanley Matthews returned to Stoke from his footballing adventure with Blackpool."

Arnold Bennett[edit]

In Arnold Bennett's "The Card", a comedic story about a local go-getter, Denry Machin, The Sentinel is portrayed as The Signal. Much later, Stoke's first commercial radio station was called Signal Radio, possibly in a nod to "The Card".[citation needed]

History[edit]

1854 The Staffordshire Sentinel and Commercial and General Advertiser was first published as a Liberal weekly newspaper from offices in Cheapside, Hanley, on 7 January. The publisher was Hugh Roberts, the Editor Thomas Phillips, a former Northampton bookseller and printer. One of the objects of the publishers was to campaign for the incorporation of Hanley, but news of the whole pottery district was contained in its columns. The initial price was 3d.

1872 The circulation of the Sentinel had increased to 5,000 copies weekly with 90 agents covering the whole of North Staffordshire and part of Cheshire.

1873 The Staffordshire Daily Sentinel was introduced at a halfpenny on Tuesday 15 April, publishing daily editions from Monday to Friday, with the Weekly Sentinel, at two pence, continuing to appear on Saturday. The Sentinel was the first daily paper to be published in the Potteries.

1874 A new site in Foundry Street, Hanley, having been acquired for the Daily Sentinel the issue of 24 July, was the first to be published from the new office. The town of Stoke-upon-Trent received its charter of incorporation as a borough.

1878 The Weekly Sentinel was enlarged and many new features introduced. Extra supplements were published. The eight pages were 25 inches in depth and there were seven columns to each page. The price remained at 2d.

1884 The first Saturday edition of the Daily Sentinel was introduced on 5 January, and on subsequent Saturdays considerable space was devoted to sport, particularly football.

1888 The circulation of all papers produced at the Foundry Street office was given as six million copies yearly and it was estimated that the Daily Sentinel found its way into the hands of 100,000 persons each day.

1892 The Staffordshire Daily Post was founded by Unionist interests in opposition to the Sentinel. Mr T. W. Twyford head of the famous firm of sanitary potters, and a Liberal who joined up with the Unionists in opposition to home rule, was its leading promoter.

1896 After the Post had sustained heavy losses Mr Twyford approached the Sentinel proprietors and suggested a merger on the basis that the Sentinel should shed its political partisanship and become a paper for all the people.

1897 The merger having been completed, a new company was set up with Mr T. W. Twyford as Chairman, Mr. William Moody as Managing Director, Mr T. Bullock, Mr Arthur Heath and Mr James Heath. The Sentinel was now styled an independent newspaper. New offices had been built on the existing site and new machinery installed.

1898 The new company was registered as the Staffordshire Sentinel Ltd.

1900 The Sentinel Cup football competition was inaugurated for the youth of the district. (Later the Sentinel Shield was added for younger footballers and a junior cricket competition was inaugurated in 1906)

1917 Because of rising costs the price of the Daily Sentinel was raised to a penny in March and the Weekly Sentinel to 1 |d.

1918 After the Minnie Pit Disaster, in which 160 lives were lost in January, the Sentinel launched an appeal with a donation of its own.

1926 The general strike. The Sentinel ceased publication for several days, but later produced single sheet emergency editions.

1928 In July the acquisition of the Sentinel by Associated Newspapers Ltd. was announced. Mr John Cowley became Chairman of the company. (Later Chairmen were successively Mr A. McWhirter. Mr John Thomson and Mr J. S. Wallwork. The merger did not affect local control over policy).

1929 The title of the company was changed to Staffordshire Sentinel Newspapers Ltd. On 4 February news appeared on the front page for the first time. A big office reconstruction scheme was launched.

1937 Virtual completion of the reconstruction of the Sentinel offices on the existing site. This was the third building to be erected there.

1939-1945 Second World War. The outbreak of war was published in a special Sunday edition of the Evening Sentinel on 3 September. The "buff" edition containing early morning racing news which had been published since early in the century was discontinued. During the war newspaper sales had to be pegged to the pre-war circulation figure which was in excess of 78,000 copies a night. Newsprint restrictions reduced the size of the paper by degrees to four pages a night, and these restrictions continued for some time after the end of hostilities. Many members of the Sentinel staff served with the Forces both at home and overseas.

1986 Having moved from Cheapside to Foundry Street in 1939, the presses and staff were all on the move again in 1986 - to the purpose built current site at Etruria - the original site of Josiah Wedgwood’s Etruria factory.

1988 The format of the newspaper changed to tabloid as late as 15 October 1988. While many local people still refer to the paper as "The Evening Sentinel", the word "Evening" was dropped from the title during the mid-1990s.

1998 The Sentinel’s website: www.thisisstaffordshire.co.uk was launched.

2005 In December Mike Sassi, who had been Editor of the Lincolnshire Echo for six years, succeeded Sean Dooley as Editor-in-Chief of Staffordshire Sentinel Newspapers.

2007 The broadsheet Sentinel Sunday ceased production in 2007.[6]

2007 The name Staffordshire Sentinel News & Media replaced Staffordshire Sentinel Newspapers to reflect the group’s focus on all forms of media – specifically the growing demand for its online services.

2008 Since 2008 'The Sentinel has seen a significant decline in circulation.[7]

2012 Local World acquired the Sentinel, along with other newspapers owned by Northcliffe Media, from the Daily Mail and General Trust.[8]

2013 The website address changed to: www.stokesentinel.co.uk. Mike Sassi left the paper after eight years as editor. Former Deputy Editor Richard Bowyer was appointed as the new editor. In September The Sentinel moved from Etruria to a Grade II listed building in the heart of the city.

2014 In March, The Sentinel was awarded the Freedom of Stoke-on-Trentby Stoke-on-Trent City Council - a huge honour for the paper and its staff. In October, Editor Richard Bowyer left the business and the then Deputy Editor, Martin Tideswell, was appointed Editor-in-Chief. Martin, who had worked at The Sentinel for 16 years, is the 14th editor of the paper - and the first local editor for more than 40 years. Rob Cotterill was promoted to Deputy Editor. Rob joined The Sentinel in April 1989 as a senior reporter at the Stafford branch office before becoming chief reporter at Stafford, where he spent 10 years. He then moved to Newcastle in a similar role.


Other publications[edit]

In addition to The Sentinel, journalists at The Sentinel’s headquarters also produce The Advertiser series of weekly newspapers, The Post & Times series of weekly newspapers, a hugely popular bygones supplement called "The Way We Were" and the glossy, monthly North Staffordshire Magazine.

References[edit]

External links[edit]