Meet the team – John Plummer, editor
Last updated Feb 21, 2024
John Plummer - Editor of The Stray Ferret

For the next few weeks, we’re introducing you to the team behind The Stray Ferret.

We’re starting this week with John Plummer, the editor.

Despite John’s confession that he ‘didn’t have any ambitions to do any particular job’ as a child, he’s beaten his own odds and enjoyed an impressive three-decade long journalism career.

The Wisbech Standard gave him his first editorial role in 1989, and he went on to contribute as a writer and editor to numerous publications, including The Times and Third Sector.

He then made the move from Lincolnshire’s fens to the rolling hills of Yorkshire and has been a Killinghall resident for over a decade, joining The Stray Ferret in 2021.

According to John, what constitutes an important topic to report on is quite simple: ‘it must matter to people’.

Just because a subject is seemingly straightforward, however, doesn’t mean that extensive research behind the scenes isn’t still necessary – something that he’s acutely aware of.

This meticulous approach to covering local issues is never more evident than in The Stray Ferret’s coverage of the highly controversial Station Gateway plans.

John said:

“I have followed the Station Gateway saga closely and have pursued numerous lines of enquiry as parts of our attempts to understand all sides of this divisive saga.”

From the point of proposal as part of the government’s £42 million Transforming Cities Fund, to the public reaction, legal challenges and changing priorities, The Stray Ferret has been leading the reporting across the area.

(From left) Bill Rigby, Chris Watt, John Plummer, Philip Broadbank and Sarah Hart.

For John, local journalism represents ‘the chance to report on issues that matter to local people’

To keep Harrogate residents informed on the latest updates, John and the team have attended public consultations and meetings and submitted Freedom of Information (FOI) requests to advocate for greater transparency every step of the way.

They also spent time speaking to individuals and groups in the community, not only to understand the general sentiment surrounding the plans, but to also improve the breadth of coverage.

He explained:

“It’s not our job as journalists to have a view on whether Station Gateway is a good idea or not – our job is to do our best to accurately reflect public opinion.

“Station Gateway is a classic example of where we, as a trusted local news service, can raise awareness of a proposal, provide a voice for all sides of the argument and open up debate.”

For John, that’s what local journalism should represent; ‘the chance to report on issues that matter to local people.’

Aside from the news, John’s other interests are centred in sports and music.

As a keen pianist, he’s even been known to use his lunch breaks as a chance to attend classical recitals.

And if he’s not watching sports, he’s participating instead, getting out and enjoying some classic Nidderdale scenery.

He added:

“I’ve lived on the patch for 12 years and enjoy running, cycling, and going to the gym.

“I particularly enjoy cycling the loop around Pateley Bridge, Kirkby Malzeard and Masham and I take part in local races and park runs.”

If you think you’ve got a story for John, you can email him at [email protected].