‘Passion’ for keeping Welsh language newspaper alive as strong as ever says editor amid columnists’ criticism
The editor of the Daily Post newspaper has said that the team’s “passion” for keeping a Welsh language newspaper going is as “strong as ever” amid criticism that it has been allowed to shrink to a few pages.
Yesterday columnists for the Welsh language Yr Herald Cymraeg newspaper called on readers to stage a protest out of concern that it is in danger of disappearing altogether.
Yr Herald Cymraeg is one of Wales’ oldest newspapers, first appearing in Caernarfon in 1855. Since 2004, however, it has only appeared as a supplement inside the Daily Post newspaper.
One of the columnists, author Angharad Tomos, said that the newspaper now amounted to little more than one Welsh language page. She said that she has seen a “sharp decline” since she started contributing to the paper nearly 30 years ago.
But Daily Post Editor Dion Jones, who is himself a Welsh speaker, said that there were no plans to wind down the newspaper.
“Yr Herald Cymraeg has a long heritage of over 160 years, and since 2005 the Daily Post has been proud to include it as a supplement week in, week out,” he said.
“While commercial considerations have meant it may not get the column inches of the past, our passion for keeping this tradition alive is still going strong.
“A third of our full-time staff are all passionate Welsh language speakers, we cherish our language and its history and appreciate Yr Herald Cymraeg’s role in keeping it alive and well.”
Angharad Tomos and the other two columnists, Bethan Gwanas and Bethan Jones, had called on readers to send the company that owns the newspaper a message to protest against the cuts in content.
“It was a standard weekly Welsh paper at that time with its own editor and maintained the tradition of an office in Caernarfon,” Angharad Tomos said.
“The page is now barely tolerated by Reach plc, and they only want a column for me every three weeks – the paper is now just the column by one of three of us.”
Bethan Gwanas, who has been contributing a column for well over 20 years, said that she also regretted seeing such a decline.
“Seeing the paper as a supplement in the Daily Post was a shock, but then the Caernarfon office was closed and the editor lost his job,” she said.
“Now, the page only has one column at a time. The current crew, who change every two minutes, do their best in difficult circumstances. But Reach PLC clearly doesn’t care much about the Welsh language content.”
The third columnist, Bethan Jones, who has contributed since 2002, argued that the cut in Welsh language content was not due to financial reasons.
“Reach plc made a profit before tax last year of £ 25.7 million, but it cannot afford to invest in the paper,” she said. “Our full-page fee is £25-£40 every three weeks. ”
One of those who has thrown his weight behind the call is the Archdruid, Myrddin ap Dafydd. His idea is to include a daily page of Welsh news, with a vocabulary for learners. This would show respect for the vast Welsh audience who buy the paper and facilitate the language transition for those learning Welsh, he said.
During Covid last year, the three contributed columns free of charge to the Herald because they were so eager to see its continuation. They said there was strong local support for the Herald with more buying the Daily Post on a Wednesday to ensure its continuation.