It was founded in 1870 as a Liberal broadsheet newspaper. It has a claim to be the United Kingdom’s first genuinely national newspaper; Darlington’s location on the East Coast main line from London to Edinburgh meant that it could be bought in both capitals on the day of publication from the outset. (In fact, it’s still possible to buy the Echo at London King’s Cross station.)
It’s currently published by Newsquest (Yorkshire & North East), who gradually switched it to tabloid format over the course of a year, from January 2006 to February 2007.
The number of editions has fluctuated in recent years between three and five; as of late 2012 there were four:
- County Durham (covering Durham, Consett, Stanley and Peterlee)
- South Durham (covering Barnard Castle, Bishop Auckland, Crook, Spennymoor, Newton Aycliffe and Sedgefield)
- Tees Valley & North Yorkshire (Hartlepool, Stockton-on-Tees, Middlesbrough and almost all of North Yorkshire as far south as York and Harrogate)
- Darlington (special late print edition for Darlington town)
However, in 2013 the County Durham edition was renamed North Durham, and the Tees Valley & North Yorkshire edition was split into two – Tees and North Yorks.