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Daily hits out after rail chiefs refuse interviews over network ‘chaos’

David BrownRail chiefs have refused to speak to a regional daily over transport “chaos” on its patch after choosing only to do interviews with broadcast media.

The Manchester Evening News has questioned Northern Rail’s decision to repeatedly rebuff its requests to interview managing director David Brown, pictured.

The MEN says Network Rail chief executive Mark Carne has also refused to speak to its journalists during the ongoing “chaos” which has seen major disruption caused to rail services in the North of England after timetable changes were introduced last month.

In a piece taking Northern Rail to task over its media policy, MEN transport reporter Charlotte Cox said that Mr Brown, and regional director Liam Sumpter, had both been “happy” to talk to its journalists in the past.

Wrote Charlotte: “Following the recent chaos on the network, Mr Brown is no longer willing to meet with our reporters. We have been repeatedly rebuffed, with the company telling us Mr Brown doesn’t have time.

“Instead, the Northern press office declined the opportunity and offered instead a Q&A in which we could send a list of questions via email. However, on Monday, Mr Brown found the time to speak to the BBC Breakfast and BBC 5 Live.”

In response, a Northern Rail press officer told the MEN: “We’ve done solely broadcast. There was the opportunity to go on BBC Breakfast and once we were in the BBC system other opportunities arose.

“It was just that we wanted to have David on broadcast where it was live or prerecorded on TV and on the radio. We haven’t done any print.”

Network Rail told the MEN it were preparing a statement but could not put a “boss” up for interview.

The MEN’s piece comes after more than 20 northern newspapers united to call from government action on the issue.

Rival titles from companies including Johnston Press, Newsquest and MEN owner Reach splashed ran front pages on the subject yesterday morning.

The campaign hashtag #onenorth was at one time trending nationally on Twitter yesterday.

3 comments

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  • June 6, 2018 at 9:27 am
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    Given Nrthern Rail’s appalling record, surely if they had consented to an interview, it would only have been cancelled anyway.

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  • June 6, 2018 at 1:49 pm
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    @johne5knuckle – just adding in ‘track’ between ‘appalling’ and ‘record’ for comic effect. But seriously, a story if you do speak and a story if you don’t. Much better for him to find time to speak to any interested media in this day and age of social media – where any such faux pas is reported.

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  • June 6, 2018 at 1:57 pm
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    “It was just that we wanted to have David on broadcast where it was live or prerecorded on TV and on the radio. We haven’t done any print.”

    in other words, “any savaging he got on broadcast would be relatively short-lived unlike that on digital or print media so we took the path of least damage…”

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