I can still remember, as a student arriving in the city 17 years ago, driving past the famous clock tower of the YEP's former home on Wellington Street for the first time.
My dad was flustering as we kept getting trapped in the city centre's one-way system and I told him I would end up working in that newsroom.
Journalism is in my blood and being named the new editor of the title I care so passionately about, in the city I love, was a dream come true last year.
To take the reins of the YEP is a big responsibility - and that task weighs heavy on my shoulders. We don't always get it right but it is my mission to look at how we can truly champion the city through quality, trusted, local journalism and tell our own success story.
And we need you, our readers, to help ensure that we can continue to tell that story of Leeds for many, many more years to come. You are right at the heart of everything we do.
I am incredibly proud of the YEP and our talented team of journalists - the biggest investment in journalism in Leeds from any publisher - have wasted no time in working hard to help make sure the city of Leeds shares my pride in the title.
Over the last few months, our reporters have been focused more than ever on getting under the skin of the topics that matter to you, our readers, as we reach out into the heart of our communities.
We've campaigned hard over the years – from raising more than £3m for our city's hospices right through to questioning the Prime Minister on the stark reality of social inequality in Leeds. We've celebrated our NHS, called for an end to the nightmare that is travelling across the city and scrutinised local leaders with our Your Right To Know series.
We know just how much Leeds United means not only to our readers but the city of Leeds as a whole.
Our dedicated team provide all the latest news from Elland Road and we've been at the matches when the fans can't be, bringing you the very latest action on the pitch.
We also celebrated the club's centenary and spearheaded a campaign to secure the Freedom of the City to Leeds’ legendary Revie team - the first time the honour had been bestowed upon a team.
Since I became editor, we've launched our own brand of Impact Journalism to use our platform to ensure the voices of our readers and their stories are front and centre of everything that we do.
And let's not forget we've been with you every single step of the way as our city united in the fight against the once-in-a-generation crisis created by the coronavirus pandemic. We've been reporting on those businesses who diversified to stay afloat, showcased the remarkable acts of kindness across Leeds and championed our city's health workers and key workers.
But now we need your support to help ensure the YEP can continue to be at the heart of life in Leeds. We're asking you to pay to read our coverage online as a show of your support in our journalism.
This is about investing in news right here in Leeds. It's about protecting that extensive archive that has charted Leeds life since 1890, supporting our award-winning journalists and photographers, and, even more important than that,ensuring the next generation benefits from the same documentation of life in our city.
Afterall, there's a reason the Society of Editors said the "YEP shines out as an example of how to do it right” when our team was highly commended at this year's Regional Press Awards.
Millions of Leeds folk have paid for their daily dose of printed YEP journalism – complete with the wise words of respected writers like Don Warters, Anne Pickles, John Morgan and David Bruce – throughout the many decades that we have been at the vanguard of life in the city.
The method of delivery might be different for our digital subscribers, but in essence you will be doing exactly the same as the mill worker who bought a copy of the paper before catching the last tram home in the 1950s or the Leeds United fan who grabbed one of our Green Post editions on a Saturday tea time in the 1970s.
All that remains for me to say is a heartfelt thank you for your support. We might have fancy analytics to tell us how our stories perform online but nothing beats hearing directly from readers about what they expect from the YEP – and I want to hear what you think about the stories we write and the way we represent Leeds. It's a two-way street.
Email me directly at [email protected]
As ever, you can count on us to continue to uphold the cornerstone of journalism by holding the powerful to account, champion our city loudly and make Leeds rightly proud of a title that has served it since 1890.
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