A regional daily is reviewing the way it covers sport after complaints of bias from supporters of one of the two main football clubs on its patch.
The Liverpool Echo says it will scrutinise its coverage of both Everton FC and Liverpool FC, after being inundated with criticism by Blues’ fans.
Everton supporters have complained of an “extraordinary bias” towards Liverpool and accused the paper of focusing on how much internet traffic it could pull in from Reds’ supporters in the Far East.
The complaints have come to light as a result of Echo editor Alastair Machray’s ‘#TellAli’ project, a month-long consultation with readers which precedes a relaunch at the end of June.
Reader Gary Shaw told the Echo: “Your paper is too sensationalist. There is a lack of true investigative journalism. You are more concerned with internet traffic than actually reporting stories that are of interest to our city.
“For example, the bias towards Liverpool FC is extraordinary. You are a local paper for Merseyside.
“Your concern shouldn’t be how much internet traffic you can pull in from the Far East.
“Everton FC get hardly any recognition from the national media. To suffer the same indignity in our own city is unforgivable.”
Taxi drivers surveyed for their views of the Echo were also among those to criticise its sports coverage – particularly how the Blues of Everton are treated compared to the Reds of Liverpool.
Cabbie Paul O’Connor said: “There needs to be lots more about Everton. Liverpool will get beat and we will win but it’ll still be them all over the front and back pages.”
His colleague Kevin Edge added: “The first thing I do with a newspaper is look at the back page and there’s too much news about the Reds – I stopped buying the Echo for that reason.
“I go everywhere with Everton but in the Echo it’s never about how good we were, but how bad they were.”
In a piece which appeared on the Echo’s website on Sunday, Alastair responded: “We have received far more criticism about our football coverage from Everton fans than we have from Liverpool fans.
“I would like to make it clear that I am actively reviewing the balance of coverage with my sports team.”