The Sports Journalists’ Association has hit out at Trinity Mirror over plans to axe a leading cricket writer’s role.
As previously reported on HTFP, the publisher is currently rolling out its ‘Newsroom 3.1′ plan at its titles in the West Midlands, which involves the loss of seven posts.
Those at risk of redundancy include the Birmingham Mail cricket correspondent Brian Halford, who has covered Warwickshire cricket for the paper for the past 17 years.
But the SJA yesterday publicly criticised the plan while Warwickshire County Cricket Club is said to be seeking a meeting with the paper over the move.
The SJA said on its website: “We are quite used to newspapers cutting their staff – that is now an almost daily occurrence – but the decision of the Birmingham Mail not to replace Halford with even a part-time cricket writer must be a worry.
“The newspaper is reported to be concentrating its future sporting coverage – and budgets – on football.”
Mark Baldwin, chairman of the Cricket Writers’ Club added: “We are appalled by the news that the Birmingham Mail is, apparently, about to dispense with daily, eyewitness coverage of Warwickshire cricket.
“Brian Halford, the cricket writer who is being made redundant, has done an outstanding job for many years in covering the fortunes of Warwickshire, both home and away.
“Of course, he is not the first regional cricket writer to find himself surplus to requirements in recent times but it must be a massive worry for English cricket.
“We have already alerted the England & Wales Cricket Board about this development – that a county as high-profile and as successful as Warwickshire will now apparently find themselves without dedicated coverage in Birmingham’s leading newspaper.”
The SJA reported that Warwickshire, who have enjoyed an outstanding season, are sufficiently concerned to have arranged a meeting between their chief executive, Colin Povey, and Mail editor-in-chief David Brookes.
Trinity Mirror has so far declined to comment on individual roles ar risk of redundancy. It has previously said that seven new roles were created in the run-up to the implementation of Newsroom 3.1 and five are being created as part of the plan in addition to the seven under threat.
The plan, which has also been rolled out in Newcastle, Manchester and Cardiff, is designed to reconfigure regional newsrooms for the digital era.
In future all content will be published first to the newspapers’ websites before being reverse-published into the print titles.