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Coverage of Premier League leaders moved off local news website

A regional publisher has switched coverage of one of England’s biggest football clubs away from a local news website to a new London-wide portal.

Trinity Mirror has announced that it is transferring its coverage of Premier League leaders Chelsea FC from Get West London to its dedicated football website covering the capital’s clubs, Football.London.

Get West London will continue to run stories on clubs in lower divisions, including Brentford, Fulham and Queens Park Rangers – but visitors wanting to read Chelsea stories will be redirected to the new London-wide site via a drop-down tab.

Asked why the Chelsea content was not appearing on both sites, Trinity Mirror told HTFP there was a “bigger opportunity to serve London football clubs locally by creating a single site for them.”

The Chelsea homepage of Football.London

The Chelsea homepage of Football.London

The Chelsea switch was revealed in an article on the Get West London website written by Football.London editor Tom Marshall-Bailey.

He wrote: “2017 promises to be an exciting year for Chelsea, with work on the new stadium due to commence while the Blues currently lead the Premier League table and we promise to be at the heart of all of the action. We hope you will join us and enjoy our exciting new website.”

Football.London was launched by Trinity Mirror in January, billing itself as “the new home for the clubs in the capital”.

Get West London readers will now need to click the ‘Chelsea’ tab from the ‘Sport’ drop-down menu on its homepage to be redirected to Blues’ coverage on Football.London.

David Higgerson, Trinity Mirror Regionals digital publishing director, said: “Our aim with Football.London is to take the best of what we do across our regional titles and apply it to football in London. We believe there is a bigger opportunity to serve London’s football clubs locally by creating one site for them.

“The stories, podcast and videos we choose to produce are all in line with our ‘fan first’ content strategy, which involves us informing, entertaining and listening to the most important to any sport, the fans.

“Readers of Get West London who wish to find Chelsea content can do so by clicking the relevant links on GetWest London. We have intentionally chosen to serve the content up in one place to ensure maximum effort is spent on the most important part of journalism, the creation of the content.

“We believe this approach helps us achieve our goal of sustaining local journalism, and also offers us the chance to provide a new style of coverage to several London football clubs along the lines of the coverage fans of Newcastle United, Manchester United, Middlesbrough FC, Aston Villa and every other club we cover have enjoyed for years.”

Freelance journalist Dan Levene, who has covered Chelsea for the past 12 years for Get West London and the now-defunct Fulham and Hammersmith Chronicle, criticised the move in a Twitter post.

“I do have serious concerns for the way the club will be reported on in future. Because of the paper’s local focus, I was able to cover Chelsea as a local story. Chelsea Pitch Owners, local pubs and businesses, and the passing of much-loved players and fans – these may not be subjects that find a place in publications with a wider focus,” he wrote.

A Trinity Mirror spokesman responded: “Dan’s claims are baseless. For the first time we now have a dedicated Chelsea writer – Oliver Harbord at Football.London – where Chelsea fans can find more news and insight in one place than ever before.

“On Saturday, the site covered two Chelsea games – the Premier League game and the U20s. The site is seeking to build a new relationship with fans based on informing and entertaining them. And it covers local issues too – for example with the stadium. With all this taking place, to suggest we’ve stopped covering Chelsea is clearly nonsense.”

2 comments

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  • March 22, 2017 at 10:30 am
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    I have to agree with mr Levine and to me it looks like it’s been done purely for commercial reasons with less regard to the local west London site and reader and more to do with driving web traffic to the other ‘main’ site.
    maybeTM believe by including Chelsea on there it will be a better sales proposition to pitch to advertisers?
    If TMs first priority was to serve a hyper local audience it would keep CFC news where it is and rather like regional newspapers used to be,one of its strong USPS was always hyper local , grass roots news unavailable elsewhere, in this case things such as the issues mentioned, local angles,ex players,things not covered by other football sites.
    by removing that one aspect alone they will weaken the core product and end up with a site fewer will have reason to visit, but sadly when the call for cash comes often the last thing often considered is the end user.
    The ones who’ll quickly walk away if they can’t find what they want or if they feel less valued

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  • March 22, 2017 at 12:17 pm
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    I’m in complete agreement with Employee X and Dan Levene, and the ‘Trinity Mirror spokesman’ is being either disingenuous or deliberately obtuse in his reply in the above article.
    Holding up the fact that the new site covered two Chelsea games at the weekend – the Premier League and the U20s – as the spokesman does, completely misses the point.
    Of course the new site will cover the main events, the big-hitters that will attracts loads of hits worldwide. It is the minutiae that will be lost with this change. Chelsea fans in Thailand or Africa, aren’t interested in the retiring groundsman who has been there for 40 years, or the meeting of the Former Players Association, or the recollections of fans who used to gather in the Shed End. These are the things that local people would be interested in and they would have been well-served by the Get West London site. Make no mistake, TM’s hit-counters will be watching their new site to see what stories gets the most hits and from the world-wide audience they crave it will be listicles, transfer stories, (the faker the better in most cases), the Press conferences and the games. Such internet hungers are already well-served by numerous competing global sites and now TM seeks to grab their own little bit of the action. What will be lost from the Trinity Mirror hit-seeking site will be the human interest stories and the local news angles – just as Dan points out. They won’t be needed anymore. Not enough worldwide interest mate.
    Another bit of local colour going the journey, joining the disappearing rainbow of local news across the country to be inexorably replaced by grey, clunky predictable mega-web-hit seekers.

    Perhaps ‘Keep It Global’ should be Trinity Mirror’s new slogan when it comes to its website policy.

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