I HAVE boasted in the past about the longevity of the Examiner.
“We have been here since before the Flood,” I have often said.
The Flood in question being the one at Holmfirth in 1852 and not the one for which Noah built his ark.
The Weekly Examiner started in 1851. The Daily Examiner was launched 20 years later in 1871. I was reminded of this by a bundle of old newspapers sent to me by Mrs Kathleen Brown of Birkby. They had been collected by her late husband Geoff and one was the commemorative issue published in 1971 to celebrate the Daily Examiner’s 100th birthday.
In those early years, the staff showed amazing loyalty: many journalists and printers spent their whole careers with the paper. Composing room foreman J R Senior worked for the Examiner for more than 70 years.
The Examiner was also a trail blazer – it was the first provincial newspaper to employ a woman reporter, Miss Constance Waller of Birkby. Constance was described as an “advanced feminist” who also founded the Atalanta Women’s football team in 1920.
Although I have worked on the Examiner for almost 40 years, I sometimes take it for granted. I forget that it is an amazing resource and asset that continues to work for the community. Its back issues provide local, national and world history in the raw and in great detail: Custer’s Last Stand, the Holmfirth Flood, the hunt for Jack the Ripper, the Charge of the Light Brigade, council reports, hatches, matches and dispatches, and the lists of local dead and their sepia photographs from two world wars.
Forty years ago, in that commemorative issue, an unnamed Examiner journalist highlighted the guiding lights the paper had tried to follow since its inception: the pursuit of truth, a devotion to fairness, a belief in principle. The Examiner’s founding motto was “the might of right”.
I like to think our newspaper still embodies that same spirit today, 170 years later.