AddThis SmartLayers

Sports journalist leaves website amid cuts to football coverage

Sam Morshead

A sports journalist has said “goodbye” to readers after losing his job at the website he works for.

Sam Morshead, pictured left, has been made redundant from his role as head of sport at Total Sport Swindon and will be leaving the sports news website soon.

In a blog post about the move, he said that the website’s parent company Total Guide To had “chosen to go in a different direction” due to financial reasons.

Sam said the site’s coverage of Swindon Town Football Club and possibly other local sports clubs was being reduced and in time, he expected the website may be incorporated into the Total Swindon site.

He tweeted last week: “Sad to say my days covering STFC are over and Total’s coverage won’t be the same.”

Sam previously worked as chief sports writer at the Swindon Advertiser and the paper was hit with a ban by the town’s football club in January last year after a tweet by him about who was in the team ahead of a match.

In a blog post headlined “Saying Goodbye”, Sam wrote: “As of today, Total Sport Swindon will not present the same sort of output you have become used to over recent months and, in a few weeks, I’ll be looking for a new challenge elsewhere.

“I’m very proud of what we achieved with Total Sport, and before that Link Sport, over a 13-month period.

“From a standing start, we received more than two million page impressions and accumulated in excess of 130,000 unique visitors; we were nominated for the EDF South West ‘Website of the Year’ award and hit web traffic figures which were only marginally down on the sport section of the Swindon Advertiser’s website.

“I’m thankful to those who enabled us to get the site up and running and those who have continued to support it.”

It is understood that two people work at Total Sport Swindon, part of a network of sites which also covers Manchester, Reading, Bath and Bristol.

Sam is believed to be the only staff member losing his job at any of the sites.

In his blog, he also wrote about the challenges facing local journalism and said he hoped it could find “some kind of second wind”.

Sam added: “The reasons for the company’s change in tack are mainly, and quite obviously, financial – and a sad reflection on how local journalism is struggling today.

“As has been made quite obvious by declining print readership figures for the Adver in recent years, the general public do not appear to be willing to support the industry. That’s a shame.

“This has evidently extended itself to potential advertisers and sponsors – though I absolutely recognise that, in a congested marketplace in Swindon, it was always unlikely that all local media outlets would be able to survive.

“While the hostility shown by Swindon Town has undoubtedly had something of an effect, it would be improper to suggest that the football club’s stance on local media is the primary factor in Total’s change of direction when it comes to its sport section.

“Instead, as I’ve noticed with a heightened sense of worry over the past 24 months, there seems to be a widespread lack of willingness to support local journalism.”

No one from Total Guide To had responded to a request for a comment at the time of publication.


You can follow all replies to this entry through the comments feed.
  • October 8, 2015 at 10:10 am

    “As has been made quite obvious by declining print readership figures for the Adver in recent years, the general public do not appear to be willing to support the industry.
    not quite the whole story Sam. The public would support any good paper but companies have wrecked the staffing and quality in search for web gold. Now there is no going back. It is shameful.
    Good luck in whatever you do.

    Report this comment

    Like this comment(5)
  • October 8, 2015 at 11:26 am

    Bad luck Sam, hope you find decent alternative employment very soon. You’re spot on about local people not supporting local journalism. They’ll miss it when it has gone, but by that time it’ll be too late. In future people will have to source their local news from random individuals ranting online. And no that isn’t “citizen journalism”, it’s just random individuals ranting online.

    (I assume “Total Sport Swindon” will now be changing its name to “Partial Sport Swindon”)

    Report this comment

    Like this comment(0)