Friday, December 11, 2009

Football Clubs Bans Local Paper!

St Mary's Stadium

My local newspaper, The Daily Echo, has been banned from from St Mary's football stadium by Southampton F.C.

The Saints banned the paper following a story it ran on the club's plans to re-develop it's existing training ground. The reason they were banned was that the club didn't want story to be published, even though it was already in the public domain. The plans had been published by the New Forest District Council following the club's planning application, and according to the Echo numerous other news sources, such as The BBC and Sky Sports News were also running details and pictures online. However, The Echo have been punished for running the story, which was officially announced on the club's own website on Wednesday, just one day after the Echo had ran it.

I think this is pretty interesting as it shows how the newspaper has perhaps overstepped the mark by going against the club's wishes and how the club has then decided to punish the paper. The Saints coverage is an important part of the Daily Echo, and is perhaps a source for many Saints fans for news, match reports, transfers, interviews etc. The decision marks the first time in the Daily Echo's 121 year history that they have been prevented from covering Southampton F.C.

The editor of the paper was quoted on the newspapers website saying that they will continue to provide "unbiased, balanced, well thought through, professional analysis of the Saints", which is all well and good but surely a large amount of their stories, especially match reports, come from St Mary's?

It's always interesting, especially from a trainee journalists' point of view, to see these tussles between newspapers and organisations. I imagine the paper will have thought that running the story would have been more influential on their sales than the lack of Saints reports will have whilst they try to solve this problem, providing they do! But perhaps for the sake of running the story a day earlier than the club's official website it could easily have been avoided, but then in the newspaper world, getting the story earlier than your rivals is the name of the game!

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