Meet the team -John Grainger, senior journalist
Last updated Mar 21, 2024

For the past few weeks, we’ve been introducing you to the team behind The Stray Ferret.

The spotlight is on John Grainger this week, our senior journalist.

Although John’s childhood ambition of being a stuntman may never have been realised due to a ‘keener sense of self-preservation’ as an adult, his career has still featured plenty of excitement – albeit the journalistic kind.  

25 years in the industry has meant he’s covered his fair share of genre-defining news events, but his first story is still one that he recalls as being of particular significance.  

The first one I ever wrote – about the rise of Islamic finance – was a pretty big one in hindsight.

 “That industry was tiny at the time, and no-one was writing about it, but it’s now worth hundreds of billions of pounds and is very well established worldwide. It was like glimpsing the birth of a star.” 

 Longer-form, investigative content is one of the many areas that John is lending his expertise to at The Stray Ferret. 

Since he joined the team, he’s been responsible for raising important questions such as whether the Stray should be rewilded, as well as his slew of exclusives about the anti-social problems in Harrogate town centre.

 Explaining his approach to tackling such a vast and complex subject, John said: 

“I carried out a survey of more than 50 businesses and listened to shop owners and store managers as they recounted their experiences, then sifted through the data to pull out the main findings. 

“I also interviewed the manager of Harrogate BID and the area police commander, went out with police officers on patrol, and spoke with people living on the street to hear their stories.

“At the same time, my colleague Calvin Robinson combed through reams of government statistics, spoke to Shelter and Harrogate Homeless Project, and submitted multiple Freedom of Information (FOI) requests.

“The result is a piece of work that really sets a new standard for journalistic reporting in this district.”

John Grainger speaking to Chief Inspector Simon Williamson of North Yorkshire Police

Having both the time and resources available to fully follow every lead, to provide accurate, detailed and trusted journalism is very important to John, and an area he feels that The Stray Ferret truly shines.  

 He said:

“We’re the best at breaking news, but we also have time to put into more in-depth journalism about people and places you might not have heard about before. A lot of news outlets don’t have the resources to do that anymore.” 

 Originally heralding from Harrogate, John moved away when he was 18 before returning later in his career, having previously lived in cities across the UK and mainland Europe. 

 He believes that having lived in the area throughout many different stages of his life – ‘as a child and as an adult, as a school pupil and as a parent’ – have all given him a greater depth of insight into North Yorkshire life.  

 John added:

“Charles Dickens said that Harrogate was ‘the queerest place, with the strangest people in it, leading the oddest lives’. That is, arguably, still true today, and it makes my job all the more interesting. 

“We have two National Parks close by; the coast is a just a day trip away; Leeds, York and even Durham are all driveable. 

“Where I live, I can walk one way and get into town within 15 minutes, or walk the other way and be in the countryside within five. It’s on the right side of the Pennines – and the tap-water’s good.” 

 If you think you’ve got a story that might be of interest to John, you can email him at [email protected].