A group editor has defended one of his titles against claims that it is “out of touch” after it failed to splash on the Olympic torch relay coming to its patch.
More than 20,000 people lined the streets of Brighouse, West Yorkshire, last week as the relay passed through the town.
But although the Brighouse Echo devoted four inside pages to the event, it chose to splash on a story about a local butcher’s shop closing down.
The decision by the Johnston Press-owned title provoked a flurry of comments on Twitter, with reactions to the move ranging from “odd” to “appalling.”
Among the critics was photographer Robbie Jay Barratt who Tweeted: “I do not understand how such an event like that cannot be on the front page.”
Adrian Hartshorn, founder of hyperlocal site www.calderdaleguardian.com, praised the paper’s coverage of the torch event, but said they “got it wrong” over the front page.
Another reader calling themselves ‘Brighouse247′ linked the move to the decision earlier this year to axe the Echo’s long-serving editor Stephen Firth and put the title under the Halifax Courier.
He directed a Tweet to that effect at @ashleyhi – the Twitter feed for JP chief executive Ashley Highfield.
Courier editor Tim Robinson, whose brief now includes the Echo, told HTFP the readers’ comments would be taken on board.
He said: “The Olympic torch relay was a fantastic event for Brighouse. We moved TV off the centre spread of the paper to give more prominence to the four full pages of coverage we carried which pictured many, many people.
“There was a page of readers’ photos of the event, and it appeared on the Echo’s letters page. We have done the same with the fantastic Brighouse Gala this week, which had a similar attendance.
“If some readers felt we could have gone bigger with this coverage, that’s a fair point. There’s lots going on in the town and as always the Brighouse Echo is giving plenty support.
“We would like to think the pages of previews and maps and coverage we carried for the torch relay, the Gala and Pro-cycle Race last week through the town have played a part in their success.
“What goes on page one is of course, always a matter of judgment and it is good that some readers express their views, which of course we will take on board.”
Here is a selection of some of the Tweets:
Simon Loker @simonloker
@brighouse247 @ashleyhi jones the butcher could have waited a week. Biggest day in the towns history and not a headline. Pathetic
Jo Bratley @jmbratley
@ashleyhi totally agree with @brighouse247 < it’s appalling one of the great events Brighouse has held this year and that’s the headline!
Robbie Jay Barratt @robbieborat
@brighouse247 haha! Seriously though, I do not understand how such an event like that cannot be on the front page. The turn out amazing.
Huddersfield 247 @Huddersfield247
@Howson_Halifax @brighouse247 Brighouse turned its high street into a sports field for a day and it gets page 33? Only town in UK to do it!
Andrew Howson @Howson_Halifax
@brighouse247 Don’t blame you. All the hard work put in by everyone concerned ignored. Examiner had it on front page.
rob ackroyd @robackroyd
@Brighouse_Echo @brighouse247 how can a so called local paper be so out of touch to not have the Olympic torch and 20k people on front page
So @ashleyhi when you axe a local newspaper’s editor & office this is what happens when once in lifetime event happens
@Echo_Michaela @brighouse247 @adrianhartshorn @brighouse_echo 20,000 people in Brighouse, why wasn’t Olympic Torch front page?
@AdrianHartshorn @Brighouse_Echo @BrighouseShops Coverage by Ian of Olympic event & pics excellent, but which editor puts pies on cover?
Adrian Hartshorn @AdrianHartshorn
@HarrisonLordArt @Brighouse_Echo Yes they got it wrong but its still a great paper. Don’t give Johnson Press an excuse to axe it