Wednesday, 25 May 2011

In Manchester football journalism really is dead.

Oh dear. Yesterday I blogged about Sir Alex Ferguson's heavy handed response to Rob Harris' question in a press conference. I suggested that football journalism is broken because of the balance of power between the media and the clubs.

Forty-seven minutes into today's PM programme (iPlayer link) there's an illuminating interview with Peter Spencer, the Sports Editor from the Manchester Evening News. Spencer basically says he doesn't want people coming into press conferences rocking the boat and upsetting the clubs; and he puts the pressure of filling pages above his reporters' right to probe a bit.

I'm not suggesting that journalists abandon commercial realities. Of course papers need filling, but we need to be honest with our audience. In countries where governments are hostile to the media or where correspondents can only travel with a state "minder" it's not unusual for the restrictions and conditions placed on the journalist to be made clear.

It'd be great to see sports journalists being as candid as their colleagues in hostile nations about the restrictions their working under, whether self-imposed or not.

(Thanks to Andrew Glover for giving me the nod about this interview)

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